In 2022 the National Archives of Australia presented an exhibition exploring the life and work of Marion Mahony Griffin. Marion: The other Griffin showcased her beautiful original drawings from the Archives’ collection, along with objects from other institutions, reproductions of her work from around the world, and a significant number of biographical images.
A storied life and career
The depth and span of the content called for a disciplined display methodology. We proposed running the text and accompanying biographical images in a continuous band around the gallery walls. Instead of the standard series of text panels, the text sat directly on the wall, with the biographical images on individual panels like framed photographs. This gave depth and rhythm to the contextual information, without detracting from the original works themselves.
The exhibition opened with a large-scale reproduction of a mural painted by Marion in a Chicago school. The mural ran around the walls of the entry space, drawing the visitor into the main space and through Marion’s life. From there, the themes are arranged around the continents in which she lived and worked, from her beginnings in the U.S.A, to Australia, India, and finally back to America for the final years of her life.
The result was an exhibition space with a soft glow and a clear contextual flow. Mahony Griffin’s drawings took centre stage, and she got the spotlight and recognition she has long deserved.
National Archives of Australia
Lora Maricic for National Archives of Australia