Paradise on Earth exhibition celebrates Marion Mahony Griffin

Paradise on Earth, a new exhibition at the Museum of Sydney, is a celebration of the career and legacy of visionary architect, Marion Mahony Griffin, that will enchant visitors of all ages.

Opening on 7 November, Paradise on Earth reimagines the extraordinary work of Marion Mahony Griffin and her deep connection to the natural environment which she saw as a place full of discovery, wonder and enrichment.

Marion, in many ways was a woman ahead of her time. Over a five decade career, she and her husband and architectural partner, Walter Burley Griffin, worked according to their strong design and philosophical principles – connecting social, architectural and environmental ideals. Like many female architects and innovators of her era, Marion’s role was, for much of the 20th century, relegated to the shadows.

Paradise on Earth celebrates and creatively engages with the many dimensions that make up the Marion Mahony Griffin story. Visitors to the exhibition will learn of Marion’s architectural beginnings and aesthetic sensibility, her collaborative work with her husband and their signature ideal for a ‘utopian way of residential living’ realised in the Sydney suburb of Castlecrag.

Guests entering the museum will encounter, for the first time, a new artwork by Sydney Living Museums’ artist-in-residence, Dr Lisa Cooper, that channels Marion’s exquisite Forest Portrait paintings and her all-consuming fascination with nature.

Throughout all levels of the museum, Paradise on Earth reflects on Marion’s wonderful work through her drawings and writings, stunning objects, photos and films. An immersive installation, Enchanted Valley, presents a dynamic digital reimagining of the Haven Scenic Theatre capturing the colours, textures and changing moods of the Australian bushland as Marion would have experienced and imagined it. 

“There’s something truly magical about this exhibition,” said Adam Lindsay, Executive Director, Sydney Living Museums and NSW State Archives. “All displays throughout the museum combine to create a sensory, imaginative and interactive experience for visitors – enchanting, evocative and playful.”

Today, 100 years after the establishment of Castlecrag, and nearly 150 years since Marion Mahony Griffin’s birth, Paradise on Earth explores Marion’s extraordinary vision and her ongoing inspiration to artists, architects, historians and urban planners.

Paradise on Earth exhibition

WHERE: Museum of Sydney, cnr Phillip and Bridge streets

WHEN: Opens Saturday 7 November. Museum is open Thursdays – Sundays

COST: FREE with museum entry fee: Adult $15, Concession/Children $12, Family $38. Members and children under 5 years free.

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