FIRST LOOK

The Sunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - BELLE TAY­LOR Ad­mis­sion to the ex­hi­bi­tion is free. To learn about the pub­lic pro­grams, in­clud­ing work­shops, visit art­gallery.wa.gov.au. The ex­hi­bi­tion is cu­rated by the WA Mu­seum.

THE start­ing point for an ex­hi­bi­tion cel­e­brat­ing the life and legacy of Heath Ledger seemed ob­vi­ous for the woman tasked with cre­at­ing it.

The Perth ac­tor, who died in 2008 at the age of 28, left an im­pres­sive canon of film work and his im­pact as an ac­tor re­mains undis­puted, but cu­ra­tor Al­li­son Hol­land wanted to cap­ture the man him­self — the friend, son and cre­ative spirit who was one of WA’s great suc­cess sto­ries.

“He’s a lo­cal hero and so many peo­ple knew him so I felt a great sense of com­mu­nity and how peo­ple re­late to him as West Aus­tralians,” Ms Hol­land told The Sun­day Times this week at an ex­clu­sive look in­side the ex­hi­bi­tion, Heath Ledger: A Life in Pic­tures, which opens next Satur­day at the Art Gallery of WA.

Ms Hol­land has spent the past six years putting to­gether this ex­hi­bi­tion, fea­tur­ing Ledger’s per­sonal be­long­ings, in­ti­mate pho­tos and fa­mous cos­tumes from some of his 18 films.

“The ob­ject of this ex­hi­bi­tion is to fo­cus on Heath’s legacy and to fo­cus back on his achieve­ments as an ac­tor and his cre­ativ­ity,” Ms Hol­land said. “That was al­ways my guide­line for se­lect­ing ob­jects.”

Ms Hol­land met Ledger in 2003, when she work­ing on a Ned Kelly ex­hi­bi­tion at the State Li­brary at the same time the ac­tor was film­ing a movie about the out­law and he had wanted to see some of the Kelly Gang arte­facts on dis­play. Four­teen years on, it’s Ledger’s story that is be­ing told through pho­tos and cos­tumes.

Ledger was a keen am­a­teur pho­tog­ra­pher and the ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tures a num­ber of his snap­shots, which AGWA di­rec­tor Ste­fano Car­boni said would give fans an in­sight into his life.

“Pho­tog­ra­phy was a pas­sion of Heath’s and the ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes an ar­ray of pho­to­graphs he took through­out his work and travel, which con­vey his love for the cam­era as well as of­fer­ing be­hind-the-scenes in­sights into the film in­dus­try,” Dr Car­boni said.

The ex­hi­bi­tion also fea­tures sev­eral of Ledger’s most fa­mous cos­tumes, in­clud­ing the suit he wore to play The Joker in The Dark

Knight and a va­ri­ety of per­sonal ef­fects, from his beloved mo­tor­cy­cles, to his act­ing awards to his jour­nal in pre­par­ing for his Os­car-win­ning role as The Joker.

Ms Hol­land said nearly 10 years af­ter his pass­ing, peo­ple were still griev­ing and re­mained fas­ci­nated by the ac­tor.

“I think that the rea­son why he is so fas­ci­nat­ing for peo­ple is he was gen­uinely a very gen­er­ous and beau­ti­ful per­son,” she said. “He had a very lovely na­ture, he was down to earth. Ev­ery­body that I’ve met through this process over six years talks about how he was ex­cep­tional.”

JOKER COS­TUME (The Dark Knight) “The Joker cos­tume started with the shoes,” Ms Hol­land ex­plains. “A very fa­mous clown called Reg Bolton, a Perth based clown, said ‘a clown­ing cos­tume al­ways starts with the shoes’, so (cos­tume de­signer) Lindy Hem­ming found the shoes first and built the cos­tume up from that.” MO­TOR­CY­CLE A keen mo­tor­cy­clist, Heath had this bike shipped to Canada when he was film­ing Broke­back Moun­tain. The ac­tor en­joyed the anonymity af­forded him by wear­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle hel­met. DIARY Ledger em­bel­lished his work­ing script for The Dark

Knight with pic­tures and hand-writ­ten notes, giv­ing an in­sight to his cre­ative process. TONY COS­TUME (The Imag­i­nar­ium of Doc­tor Par­nas­sus) The last cos­tume Heath wore was for the 2009 fan­tasy film The Imag­i­nar­ium of Doc­tor Par­nas­sus. Af­ter his un­timely death, the role was filled by Johnny Depp, Colin Far­rell and Jude Law. AWARDS Four of Ledger’s most sig­nif­i­cant awards are on dis­play. His Golden Globe, Academy Award and BAFTA award all from The Dark

Knight and his Aus­tralian Film In­dus­try Award from Broke­back Moun­tain.

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