Dance me to the end of love: Journeys from birth to death in the SAM Collection

18 March 2023 - 11 February 2024

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born 

Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn 

Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn 

Dance me to the end of love 

- Leonard Cohen 

Dance Me to the End of Love evokes the grand cycles of life, traversing from birth to death through artworks in the SAM Collection. Spanning one hundred and twenty years, the diverse selection of artworks includes ceramics, sculpture, painting, printmaking, drawing, assemblage, and installation.  
From their individual perspectives the thirty-nine artists in Dance Me to the End of Love share stories of a life lived and delve into connective experiences of creation, parenthood, spiritualism, life seasons, death, and the afterlife.

Images: Dance Me to the End of Love,  installation view. Shepparton Art Museum, 2023. Photo: Leon Schoots

Artists:  Janet Beckhouse, Sarah Boehme, Peter Booth, Godwin Bradbeer, Penny Byrne, Katthy Cavaliere, Yvonne Cohen, Julie Dowling, Dulcie Enalanga, Ida Enalanga, Irene Entata, Janet Fieldhouse, Mark Galea, Norah Gurdon, Stanislav Halpern, Brent Harris and John Loane, Noreen Hudson, Judith Inkamala, Sam Jinks, Esther Kennedy, David Larwill, Elizabeth Moketarinja, Hedwig Moketarinja, Elaine Namatjira, Nell, Ann Newmarch, Trevor Nickolls, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Kathleen Petyarre, Hugh Ramsay, Carol Rontji, Virginia Rontji, Judi Singleton, Sally Smart, Long Tom Tjapanangka, Angela Valamanesh, Hossein Valamanesh, and Maggie Watson. 

Curators: Jessica O'Farrell, Shelley McSpedden

Location: Lin Onus Gallery, Level 1


Related programs

SAM Deep Dives with The University of Melbourne

SAM Deep Dives is a series of talks presented at Shepparton Art Museum in partnership with University of Melbourne. The lectures, led by University of Melbourne academics and researchers, delve into the themes and ideas of current SAM collection exhibition Dance Me to the End of Love to investigate death, technology, poetry and society in three unique conversations prompted by featured artworks.

September 2023: The Dance Between Art and Science with Michael Arnold

In this hour lecture, Michael Arnold of University of Melbourne's DeathTech team delves into the intersectionality of art and science whilst reflecting on the themes and works in SAM exhibition Dance Me to the End of Love.

Exploring the academic research of DeathTech into death, technology and society and its inclusion of art, Arnold reflects on the relationship between art and reality.

This lecture is the first in the Deep Dive series – a three-part lecture series hosted by SAM in partnership with the University of Melbourne.

Michael Arnold is a Professor in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Melbourne. His ongoing research lies at the intersection of technologies and our society and culture, focusing more recently on technologies in the context of memorialisation, commemoration and the final disposition of the human body.

Content warning: this video contains graphic footage of a surgical procedure (timestamp 31.38-34.29)

November 2023: Woman and Child with Dr Danny Butt

In this lecture, University of Melbourne senior lecturer Dr Danny Butt focuses on Sam Jinks’ much-loved Woman and Child to prompt a discussion on life, death and gender politics.

How do women bear responsibility for cultural meaning? In a world where “lived experience” is increasingly understood to underpin authentic representation, what can we learn from how Jinks as a male artist stages both woman and child? What does the work’s detailed focus on individual bodies illuminate about Western culture’s philosophy of life and death? Such questions help unfold the complex dynamics animating the sculpture and its continuing power to move audiences.

Dr Danny Butt is Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Practice and Co-ordinator of Research in Design and Production at Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne.

Sam Jinks, Woman and Child, 2010. Shepparton Art Museum Collection, purchased with the assistance of the public and Greater Shepparton City Council, 2011. © the artist