ACMI presents Del Kathryn Barton: The Nightingale and the Rose

An animated film called ‘The Nightingale and the Rose’ will star as a remarkable centrepiece in the Del Kathryn Barton exhibition at ACMI in June.


The Nightingale and the Rose is an adaptation of Oscar Wilde‘s 19th century classic, and celebrates an extraordinary collaboration between Del Kathryn Barton, a two-time Archibald Prize winner, and acclaimed filmmaker Brendan Fletcher. When the pair started on the film, neither had a background in animation, yet they approached the work  with a unified vision of offering something new and different to the genre, whilst retaining the spirit of Wilde’s prose and Barton’s signature aesthetic.

The film is voiced by some of Australia’s most celebrated actors, including Mia Wasikowska, David Wenham and Geoffrey Rush, all layered with a stirring score by revered Australian singer/songwriter Sarah Blasko.

The free exhibition will transform ACMI’s Gallery 2 space into an immersive and intricate Barton-esque world: colourful, boldly enchanting, and brooding, revealing a lush display of objects that show the incredible workings behind the production, from classic text to canvas, sculpture to screen. This will include Barton’s artworks, a selection of never-before-seen handmade props, material from the animation archives, and a rare 1913 edition of Wilde’s anthology.

Of her affinity for the tale Barton said,

‘When I first discovered Oscar Wilde’s radical fairy story The Nightingale and the Rose as a teenager, it seemed to me that the character of the Nightingale breathed with the energy of a true artist.


Nightingale gives completely of her deepest essence in her life choices. She is a little hero of mine. From the making of my paintings and drawings for the book project, to a three year (and often agonising) marathon making the animation, the Nightingale experience has been an extraordinary and multifaceted creative journey.’


Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and the Rose, Dirs. Del Kathryn Barton and Brendan Fletcher. Prod. Aquarius Films, 2015_1.jpg
Del Kathryn Barton said that she feels blessed to have shared the challenges of this journey with so many talented collaborators, and to have created relationships that will no doubt enable many more film projects, a medium she is now truly in love with.


About the creative process filmmaker Brendan Fletcher said,

‘I love working with people working outside the film industry, as while these collaborations can be challenging (this particular development process took a very long time!) they are very rewarding and lead to films that are fresh and a little bit unpredictable.’


Del Kathryn Barton: The Nightingale and the Rose is on at ACMI in Melbourne from 21 June to 11 September 2016. Entry is free.


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  • Love. Explore Del Kathryn Barton’s ‘Highway is a Disco’ collaboration with Melbourne store Third Drawer Down here.

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