What’s that Skip?

An exhibition initially inspired by the 1960’s TV series ‘Skippy the Bush Kangaroo’ and her place in our national psyche. Historian Dr Naomi Parry-Duncan opened the exhibition at WAYOUT Artspace, with Blak Douglas performing a Didgeridoo piece accompanying his pivotal painting, ‘Air to the Drone.’


19th August to the 1st of October 2023

WAYOUT Artspace, Kandos NSW

An exhibition at WAYOUT Artspace in the regional town of Kandos in New South Wales

An exhibition initially inspired by the 1960’s cultural phenomenon Skippy the Bush Kangaroo and her place in our national psyche, extending more broadly to the depiction of the Kangaroo in contemporary art.  The exhibition was opened by Dr Naomi Parry Duncan, a local historian responsible for assessing the significance of the Skippy Collection located in the former ‘Ranger Headquarters’.   Artist Blak Douglas performed on the Didgeridoo a piece accompanying his painting Air to the drone (1999) he describes as a profoundly pivotal personal work.  

The exhibition closed with the Great Skippy Bake Off with community entries vying for a bespoke trophy created by artist Brad Allen-Waters.


Patti Abela, Brad Allen-Waters, Damian Castaldi and Solange Kershaw, Peter Cooley, Adrienne Doig, Blak Douglas, Maddison Gibbs, June Golland, Fiona Hall, Craig Handley, Gordon Hookey,
Michael Kempson, Fleur MacDonald, Noel McKenna, Ian Milliss, Roger Law, Mai Nguyen-Long, Chris O’Doherty (Reg Mombassa), Simon Reece, Reko Rennie, Joan Ross, Jason Wing and Adeel Uz Zafar.

Curated by

Miriam Williamson and Leah Haynes

Foreground: Maddison Gibbs, Kangaroo Bag, 2021; Centre: Mai Nguyen-Long, Skippy Subcluster 2023; Background: Chris O’Doherty (Reg Mombassa), Fluffy the slightly pink kangaroo,.  (Image: Damian Castaldi)
Mai Nguyen-Long, Skippy Subcluster 2023, Mixed media  (Image Damian Castaldi)
Foreground: June Golland, Your one wild and precious life, 2023;  Background from left to right: Mai Nguyen-Long, Skippy Subcluster 2023; Chris O’Doherty (Reg Mombassa), Fluffy the slightly pink kangaroo; Simon Reece, We’re all Pink, 2012, Waste Crags, 2021,  (Image: Damian Castaldi)
Damian Castaldi & Solange Kershaw, Punching Skippy 2023, mixed media assemblage (Image Damian Castaldi)
Foreground: Maddison Gibbs, Kangaroo Bag 2021; Background left to right:  Jason Wing, Unfair Advantage 2023; Recko Rennie, Big Red 2013, Etching with relief roll.  (Image: Leah Haynes)
Exhibition gallery image (Image Leah Haynes)
Fleur MacDonald, Kangaroo Salad Servers 2023, (Image Miriam Williamson)
Blak Douglas, Air to the drone 1999, Synthetic polymer paint on canvas (Image:  Miriam Williamson)
Little Girl with Kangaroo, A family photograph taken on Williamson’s grandparent’s property in Kandos circa 1954. (Image courtesy Miriam Williamson)

Curatorial Statement

Large kangaroos are today so commonplace that most Australians have long ceased to wonder at them. Some even regard them as pests. Yet they are, in my opinion, the most remarkable animals that ever lived, and the truest expression of my country -- not because they appear on everything from the coat of arms to the national airline, but because they have been made by Australia. (Tim Flannery, from Future Eaters).

The Kangaroo is Australia's iconic animal and an important totem animal to First Nations Australians dating back tens of thousands of years pre-European colonisation.  Its cultural identity is ingrained in our national psyche.  In this age of the Anthropocene and mass extinction our view of the Kangaroo is challenged as their behaviour responds to increased threat – from loss of natural habitat, farming practices, encroaching urbanisation, climate change, (fires and floods), illegal baiting and gun sport. The kangaroo meat industry, touted as ‘eco-friendly’, represents the largest single sustained massacre of land-based wildlife in the world and continues unregulated.  As the Kangaroo’s natural habitat shrinks their vulnerability surely grows.

Our relationship with this animal is a dichotomy between much loved icon and pest, ranging from endearment and pride to intruder and threat.  

Our love and cultural acceptance of the Kangaroo starts for many via the 1960s Australian TV series Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. Entrenched into the DNA of a generation of children, Skippy became the much-loved marsupial heroine who came to the rescue of her humans and fellow fauna. Over 93 episodes this weekly human interaction with the Kangaroo transported us into the Australian bush. It introduced the Kangaroo and our native wildlife to thousands, carrying strong themes about protecting the natural environment and its inhabitants and portrayed positive relationships with Australia's First Peoples.  Skippy became one of Australia’s greatest cultural exports, with a recognised reach to more than 300 million viewers worldwide.

Drawing on a rich historical narrative and the representation of the Kangaroo in popular culture ‘What’s that Skip’ portrays the Kangaroo and comments on the way the animal is perceived in contemporary society.