Locals night this Friday 12 January features punk & rock by Lymes & The Yard Apes as well as some funky beats by Paul Mah aka DJ PLMH. 5–8pm.

Friday 19th January: Shadow Feet, Geoffrey Williams and The Skulls

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Romancing the skull

Sat 14 Oct 2017 – Sun 28 Jan 2018

The skull has entranced and fascinated generations of artists. Romancing the skull looks at the depiction of the skull in art and examines why we continue to be so enamoured with this iconic symbol. The exhibition explores a range of themes including the skull as a reminder of our mortality, the use of the skull in addressing social and political issues, and the skull and crossbones as a symbol of piracy and rebellion.

Romancing the skull will also look at the way in which the skull has been embraced as an important symbol in Mexican Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. Prints by Mexican artists José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913) have become synonymous with Day of the Dead and his Calaveras (skull figures) are now firmly embedded in Mexican popular culture. More than twenty of his iconic prints will be introduced to Australian audiences for the first time.

Other highlights of the exhibition include a Nuremberg Chronicle dating from 1493 depicting one of the earliest Danse Macabre (Dance of Death) images, and Australian artist Shaun Gladwell’s Virtual Reality work Orbital Vanitas 2016, which debuted at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It will also include works by contemporary Australian artists Sam Jinks, Rona Green and Ben Quilty and specially commissioned works by Fiona Hall, Reko Rennie and Sally Smart.


Opening weekend public programs (booking required)

Collector’s talk with David Hulme

Saturday 14 October, 11am

Artist talk with Fiona Hall

Saturday 14 October, 2pm

Choose your date:

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Ticket Prices

Adult:  $16
Concession:  $12
Gallery Member:  $10
Fulltime Student: $10
Child 5-15:  $5
Family:  $35
Groups 10+   $10
Show us your skull tattoo: $10

without breaking the laws of public decency
(Permanent ink only, no temporary tattoos)

Don’t forget to book your Orbital Vanitas Virtual Reality ticket when you book your exhibition tickets

Open 10am – 5pm
Last exhibition entry 4pm



Shaun Gladwell, Orbital vanities

I imagined the skull approaching and then engulfing you, as if it were the mysterious surviving fragment of a lost science fiction film.

Shaun Gladwell, The New York Times, 25 January 2017

The Art Gallery of Ballarat is the first Australian gallery to present this remarkable Virtual Reality experience.

Free with exhibition entry, but it is essential to book a timed ticket to experience this work.
For practical reasons, this experience may not be available for group bookings. 


Selected works

Exhibition Partners


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