Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information




Australian art

Contemporary art


Asian art

View More:


A long time between drinks

printed 2009


Simryn Gill

Singapore, Malaysia, Australia

1959 -


Among Simryn Gill's multi-disciplinary explorations of identity and belonging, investigations of suburban locations carry a particular resonance due to their often autobiographical nature.

‘A long time between drinks’ 2009 is an intensely focused look at suburban Adelaide which was the artist’s first experience of Australia when she arrived in 1987 from Kuala Lumpur, and the city where she first exhibited. Gill returned to Adelaide in 2005 to revisit this early point of contact, producing an evocative series of 13 images.

The photographs impart an ostensible sense of alienation and isolation that corresponds to the artist’s position as an outsider looking in. Gill’s viewpoint of these empty streets that seem to lead nowhere is forensic and detached. But surprisingly, as repetitious compositions and details culminate across the photographs, the prosaic subject matter becomes increasingly surreal, abstract and even poetic.

As Sambrani Chaitanya has stated, ‘Gill's work is an investigation of the limits of categorisation,’1 and this group of works, just as in Gill’s examination of Marrickville (where she now lives) in ‘May’ 2006, emphasises the difficulty of defining an idea of place through mere description. Memory, time and pure invention are required to fill in the gaps. The eerie, yet evocative environment in these photographic prints is further enhanced by their presentation in a square box emulating those of sets of vinyl LP recordings.

1. Sambrani, C ‘Other realties, someone else's fictions: the tangled art of Simryn Gill’, [online], ‘Art and Australia’, v 42, no 2, Summer 2004, p 220



printed 2009

Media category


Materials used

portfolio of 13 offset prints




13 photographs: each 29.8 x 29.7 cm image; 33.3 x 32.9 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l. verso each photograph and l.c. title page, pencil "Simryn Gill 2009".


Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors' Program 2011


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Simryn Gill

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 1 publication


Brian Massumi, Here art grows on trees: Simryn Gill, 'Making To Place: In the Artist's Words, Refracted', pg. 185-236, Sydney, 2013, 184-185 (illus.), 187 (illus.), 278. illustrations of b and g