National Gallery Sculpture Garden – Canberra, Australia - Atlas Obscura

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National Gallery Sculpture Garden

Dozens of large-scale, creative, evocative curios from prominent artists dot the calm outdoor space around this major museum.  


Some of the National Gallery of Australia’s biggest attractions—just under 30 works in total—are scattered around patches of grass, concrete, and bushland on the southern banks of Lake Burley Griffin.

The landscaping for the Sculpture Garden took years of planning, with the placement of the first sculptures beginning in the early 1980s. New works have been added since then, all taking advantage of their unique outdoor setting.

There are some larger architectural pieces, such as Bert Flugelman’s reflective Cones and Clement Meadmore’s twisted metal Virginia. Alongside these are more intricate and detailed works, including lifelike nude human studies by renowned sculptor Auguste Rodin, and the haunting sight of 66 bronze human heads floating in a pond in Dadang Christanto’s Heads From the North.

Perhaps one of the most unique pieces is Foggy Wake in a Desert: An Ecosphere by Fujiko Nakaya. This fog sculpture wafts across some of the other outdoor artworks. It is only visible at certain times of the day, and responds to weather conditions and the number of visitors.

Know Before You Go

The National Gallery of Australia and its sculpture garden are open every day (except Christmas) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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