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A production still from Mother Courage, featuring a boy watching an older lady painting in the back of a van.
Mother Courage (production still), image courtesy of the artist and Scarlett Pictures


Mother Courage has been commissioned by ACMI and dOCUMENTA (13) and is part of the ACMI Commissions Series.

Warwick Thornton: Mother Courage

5 Feb - 23 Jun 2013

Thornton’s Mother Courage  was first exhibited in 2012 at the prestigious contemporary art exhibition dOCUMENTA (13) held in Kassel, Germany.

For the period of the exhibition, it was constantly on the move, ‘parked outside the most prestigious galleries in town, for art aficionados to peer in its grimy windows and through its rear doors, to wonder at the business inside’.

At ACMI, the work has been reborn within the space of Gallery 2, no longer on the move, but cutting against the grain of the white cube/black box experience of the art gallery space.

No Longer Available
  • Acclaimed filmmaker and artist Warwick Thornton has a distinctive and powerful cinematic voice. He won the Cannes Film Festival's Camera d'Or for his debut feature, Samson and Delilah  (2009) and exhibited Stranded  (2011) at the Samstag Museum of Art during the Adelaide Film Festival.

    Mother Courage  is an immersive film installation that offers a striking and poetic perspective of Indigenous life in Australia. Based upon Bertolt Brecht's play Mother Courage and Her Children,  it explores cultural displacement and the tensions between contemporary urban and traditional Indigenous lifestyles.

    On the final weekend of this much celebrated exhibition, Thornton's mischievous title character takes her art to the street, parking her van in the Fed Square Atrium. This will occur as part of The Light in Winter , Fed Square's month-long program of free performances, exhibitions, film screenings and forums.

    Education Resource
    The Warwick Thornton: Mother Courage Education Resource (aimed at upper secondary and tertiary students) provides background to the artist's immersive film installation. It includes discussion topics for extended classroom engagement and materials of particular relevance for Media, Studio Arts and English studies.

Other ACMI Commissions

2013 Exhibition Archive