Before coming out as an artist in 1985, Ian North kept his photography practice a secret while working as a Curator at the Art Gallery of South Australia (1971-80), and National Gallery of Australia (1980-84). North’s interest in new and radical approaches to art led to his sitting on the inaugural council of the Experimental Art Foundation, now Adelaide Contemporary Experimental (ACE), formed in the Lion’s Arts Centre in Adelaide in 1974. As an academic and visual arts writer, North is widely published and has held positions at University of Adelaide and University of South Australia, where he was instrumental in the establishment of the Anne and Gordon Samstag scholarship Program.
Working in painting and photography, North’s art explores notions of place, identity and the post-conceptual. Here, North has painted prominent, innovative, and controversial arts figureAnthony Steel.Steel was the first General Manager of the new Adelaide Festival Centre during the Don Dunstan era, a significant time for the arts in Australia. Artistic director of five Adelaide Festivals between 1974 and 1986, Steel also has the distinction of having directed more international arts festivals in Australia than any other person.
In 2005, Steel was awarded a fellowship from the Australia Council’s Theatre Board to write his memoir, Painful in Daily Doses. It traces his career and his colourful personal life, from growing up in a wealthy steel manufacturing family in England, to his stewardship of important art enterprises in Australia, including Adelaide Festival Centre. The book’s cover is adorned by this portrait created by North.
Acquired by Adelaide Festival Centre Trust in 2009
Adelaide Festival Centre Works of Art Collection