PRESS RELEASES   ·  June 7, 2016

Australian Acquisition Strengthens Global Initiative

The Museum of Photographic Arts acquired Australian collection from local donors

SAN DIEGO – The Museum of Photographic Arts established the Peter Farrell Collection of Australian Photography in its permanent collection with the acquisition of 24 photographs and 100 photo books.

The acquisition is part of a larger initiative to expand MOPA’s permanent collection to include Pacific Rim artists and elevate Australian photography to a wider global audience while supporting photographers from that region.

“This is an ambitious endeavor to better share the wonders of Australian photography with the public,” MOPA Executive Director Deborah Klochko said. “We’re not looking to re-create or redefine it. We want to showcase it, while learning more about the phenomenal work being done.”

Sydney photography collector and dealer Josef Lebovic donated the photo books and supported Peter Farrell in their decision to gift their representative collection of Australian photography to MOPA. In addition, the donation will establish an acquisition fund for the ongoing purchase of contemporary Australian photography.

“As a San Diego resident, I am delighted to be able to provide such excellent examples of both past and contemporary Australian photography,” Peter Farrell said. “I am sure MOPA visitors will delight in this collection.”

Hear directly from Peter in the video below:

A range of artists are represented in the collection from early 20th century icons, such as Max Dupain, David Moore and Olive Cotton, to more recent work of internationally known photographers like Tracey Moffat and Bill Henson. Henson’s photograph Untitled #20 (LMO SH177 N2A) is the first piece from the new acquisition to be included in an exhibition at MOPA. Defying Darkness: Photography at Night is on display through Oct. 2.

The 2018 exhibition and accompanying photo book was a major project by Merry Foresta as MOPA’s first Curator-at-Large. Foresta said she is interested in what kind of voice this work adds to a global conversation about contemporary photography.

“Historically, institutions in Australia have energetically created a context for the understanding and appreciation of photography,” Foresta said. “We will have an opportunity to see the broad range of work offered by Australian artists. With its strong emphasis on engagement with new artists and audiences, MOPA offers an opportunity to experience new art and big ideas.”

The Museum of Photographic Arts is a center for visual learning located in San Diego’s Balboa Park. Its mission is to “inspire, educate and engage the broadest possible audience through the presentation, collection, and preservation of photography, film and video.” As a 501(c)(3) organization, MOPA is generously supported by members, individuals, corporations, foundations and government agencies. Learn more at

MOPA offers Pay What You Wish admission.


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Welcome to the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art!

As of July 1, 2023, the Museum of Photographic Arts and The San Diego Museum of Art have merged to become one unified institution. The Museum of Photographic Arts is now the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art (MOPA@SDMA).

MOPA@SDMA remains a pay-what-you wish museum open Thursdays through Sundays 11:00 a.m.– 5:00 p.m.

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