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SurrealistLee Miller

A surrealist before she even knew of the movement, Lee Miller was one of the most original photographic artists of the twentieth century. From early on she rejected the expectations placed on her as a woman and an artist and set her own rules, demonstrating the self-determination that would sustain her creativity for more than 30 years. This exhibition of 100 photographs spanning Miller’s career takes the viewer on a remarkable journey, revealing her unerring ability to capture the marvellous in the everyday, create new perspectives onto the world, synthesise beauty and horror, and express her deep humanity.

This education resource can be used to assist in the interpretation of Lee Miller’s work from 1929 to 1943 through historical and cultural frameworks. Questions encourage students to engage critically with the historical and cultural context of Lee Miller’s life, recognizing the interconnectedness of her personal experiences and artistic evolution. These questions can be used as a springboard for discussions, research, and creative reflections on Lee Miller’s multifaceted life and contributions to art and photography.

These resources are designed to support school learning levels 7–12 and Heide Connect and Create Art Tours as well as self-guided tours of the exhibition.

Lee Miller’s son and curator of Surrealist Lee Miller, Antony Penrose, visited Heide from the UK for the opening of the exhibition. We sat down with him in the gallery to find out more about his mother’s remarkable legacy. He talks about the choices he made as a curator, such as the selection of works, finding the theme and narrative, avoiding sensationalising the war photographs, and showcasing the importance of Surrealism in Miller’s life.

Melbourne based photographer Jane brown takes us through her photographic darkroom and shows us some of the practices that artist Lee Miller would have used throughout her photographic career.

Current Exhibitions