Jo’s mo show (with beards) is an exhibition on at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra and tracks the evolution of facial hair fashion from the 1780’s to the present day. Drawing from the Gallery’s collection of paintings, prints, photographs and sculpture, the exhibition illustrates the changing social, cultural and political conditions of the different eras and how they influenced the facial hair trends of the different periods.

Beards were avoided by respectable men up until the late 1840’s as they were considered a sign of political radicalism and insanity. By the 1850’s beards were embraced as a sign of masculinity, strength and virility and adopted particularly in Australia as an emblem of a rugged frontier mentality. By Federation, men of the youthful “new nation” saw the popularity of the beard wane in favour of better grooming.  Hollywood’s influence and the war influenced the clean-shaved fashion of the time, before a return to facial hair in the 60’s and 70’s.

The National Portrait Gallery is one of this country’s youngest cultural institutions with the first collection shown in 1998. The collection was originally housed in Old Parliament House before moving to a new location next to The High Court of Australia. Displaying some 400 portraits of people who have shaped Australia and who continue to shape our nation, it is a must-see when visiting the Nation’s capital.

Jo’s mo show (with beards) runs from 28th October - 1st April 2012, open daily 10am to 5pm (except 25th December).

08 November 2011
National Portrait Gallery
King Edward Terrace Parkes 2600 ACT
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