Exhibition / New Horizons: emigre creatives and the Australia’s design landscape

Melbourne, 27.02-03.04

Across Europe, designers, artists, architects, and other creative people experienced major prejudice, persecution and a resounding rejection of modern ideas in favour of a stifling return to tradition.

Escalating xenophobia and anti-semitism in the early decades of the 20th century meant that many countries treated their most innovative, esteemed, revered and established practitioners with increasing suspicion and criticism. This reached a devastating conclusion during World War Two that resulted in many European thinkers and makers realising that their country of birth or their newly adopted homes were now untenable and life-threatening.

This exhibition aims to present the beginnings of an ongoing survey into the migration of some well-known and some lesser known designers and practitioners, and the deeply influential place they cemented in the burgeoning art and design landscape of Australia in the  1940s, 50s, and 60s.

By showcasing the Perth-based émigré Iwan Iwanoff alongside a collective chorus of artists, designers, architects and creatives of European origin and education who practiced in Melbourne, we hope to contribute to the redress and revival of their careers: through great duress and loss often came new horizons and prolific legacies.

This exhibition is held at the Dulux Gallery at the Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne, between 27th February – 04th April 2023, and is part of an ongoing survey by the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning into the role, impact, and influence emigre creatives have had on Australia’s design landscape.