UniSA unveils $1 million gift of art by acclaimed artist Sydney Ball

Sydney Ball, Pale Stream, 1976, acrylic and enamel on canvas, 244.0 x 426.5cm. UniSA Art Collection: The Sydney Ball Gift. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney and Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide.
Sydney Ball, Pale Stream, 1976, acrylic and enamel on canvas, 244.0 x 426.5cm. UniSA Art Collection: The Sydney Ball Gift.
Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney and Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide.

A collection of works by renowned Australian artist Sydney Ball (pictured below), worth more than one million dollars, was unveiled at UniSA’s Mawson Lakes campus last month.

Artist Sydney Ball at Mawson Lakes campus. Photo: Courtesy of the Samstag Museum of Art, photograph by Alex Kwong.Artist Sydney Ball at Mawson Lakes campus. Photo: Courtesy of the Samstag Museum of Art, photograph by Alex Kwong.

The collection, which comprises more than 30 works, was gifted to the University by Ball – who is also a UniSA alumnus – in 2013. The large-scale collection is now on permanent display at the Sir Eric Neal Library.

Director of UniSA’s Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Erica Green, said the collection made an important contribution the University’s cultural capital.

“The installation of the Sydney Ball Gift at UniSA celebrates the artist’s long and impressive career and considerable impact on Australian art, and recognises Ball’s significant act of generosity to the University,” she said.

“Ball is regarded as one of the true trailblazers of abstract painting in Australia. In a career that has spanned more than 50 years, he has created a vast body of work largely concerned with colour, form, and compositional structure.”

Speaking at the unveiling, UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd thanked Ball for his gift and for his contribution to art in Australia.

“Sydney is one of Australia’s most successful and established artists, a living treasure," Prof Lloyd said. "He is also one of ours and we are immensely proud of his achievements.

“Sydney has played a great part in helping educate Australians to know great art and he will continue to do that through his paintings, as students, staff and the public at large study, research and simply enjoy this wonderful gift.”

The gift , which was made through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program with support from the Samstag Museum of Art Board, contains key bodies of work from throughout Ball’s career including works from the ‘modular series’ of the late 1960s, the important ‘stain series’ of the 1970s, right through to the ‘structures’ series of recent times.

Ball both studied and lectured at the South Australian School of Art, which is now part of UniSA.

Some of Ball’s works will form part of the upcoming Samstag Museum exhibition Birth of the Cool, which also features selected works from painters David Aspden, Michael Johnson and Dick Watkins.

For more information on the Sydney Ball Gift or upcoming exhibitions at the Samstag Museum, go to the Museum’s website.

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