From their beginnings in the 1970’s on the pub circuit of Sydney’s Northern beaches Midnight Oil went on to win audiences across the world with their fierce commitment to environmental, social, anti-war and indigenous rights issues.
‘The Making of Midnight Oil’ is major public exhibition opening June 2014, which maps that journey and examines the band’s impact on social and cultural history across a 40-year period.
Amongst the wealth of items on display will be a stage recreated with Rob Hirst’s water tank, dingo and roo from the Diesel and Dust tour, Peter Garrett’s microphone and other instruments. Throughout the space the band’s original road cases have been reworked into display cabinets housing a myriad of fascinating objects, guitars, amps and pedals, iconic stage wear including the ‘Read About It’ overalls and Olympic ‘Sorry Suits’ and a huge array of banners, posters, rare photographs and original lyrics.
Two large screens reveal new and unseen film footage including a documentary on the recording of 10,9,8 by Robert Hambling and touring footage from the 1980’s by film maker Ray Argall, who also made ‘The Power and The Passion’ clip.
A surround sound booth with a sign saying ‘The Antler’ aims to capture some of the atmosphere of what it was like to be in the audience at an Oils gig, complete with sticky beer stained carpet, gaffa tape, elbows sticking out of the walls and a rare and unearthed piece of footage of the band filmed at the 1981 festival ‘Tanelorn’. Along one wall of the gallery a massive 30-foot wide banner from the band’s protest gig outside New York’s Exxon headquarters proclaims ‘Midnight Oil Makes You Dance, Exxon Oil Makes You Sick’.
In support of the exhibition, Sony Music are making available for the first time on DVD the documentary of that protest gig, ‘Black Rain Falls’. Also in support of the event, remastered versions of the band’s entire early catalogue are being made available for the first time on CD.
‘The Making of Midnight Oil’ is a free exhibition developed over a two -year period by MAG&M Curator Ross Heathcote in close collaboration with Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst.
Manly Art Gallery & Museum, West Esplanade,10am to 5pm, Tuesday – Sunday
Black Rain Falls and the remastered Midnight Oil catalogue available at the Gallery and through Sanity JB HIFI and also on iTunes