Friends in Virtual Conversation | Kim Carpenter AM


The Friends joined Kim Carpenter in his studio to learn more about how he became involved in production design, discuss his love for Oscar Wilde’s love story, and take a look at the paintings he has made during lockdown that will be shown as part of his upcoming exhibition, The Happy Prince.

“It has been a joy to harness all my visual references from Wilde’s book and the process of creating and designing the ballet in order to reinvent them so as to tell the story in a purely visual form to be experienced in an art gallery. So the lockdown has allowed me an absorbing, driven creative period.”
– Kim Carpenter

Kim is exhibiting The Happy Prince from 13 to 25 October at ARO Gallery in Sydney.



Acclaimed theatre devisor/director/designer Kim Carpenter AM will exhibit 26 major artworks in response to Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince – the classic story of The Prince and The Little Swallow.

Carpenter recently adapted The Happy Prince for The Australian Ballet in collaboration with renowned choreographer Graeme Murphy. He also designed the sets and costumes. The production opened at The Queensland Performing Arts Centre on 25th of February. Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic The Australian Ballet cancelled the August season at The Arts Centre, Melbourne and the November-December season at The Sydney Opera House.

Wilde’s immortal tale of love and sacrifice, tenderness and joy – combined with the creative journey of making a new full-length ballet with collaborators – choreographer, Graeme Murphy, and composer Christopher Gordon – fuelled Carpenter’s inspiration to create a suite of exquisite paintings.

Carpenter’s images are imaginative and whimsical, playful and atmospheric. They reflect Wilde’s wit, poetry and social commentary. The Happy Prince’s observations of struggle and survival, the disparity between the rich and the poor, are equally relevant today. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the divisions in society that Wilde wrote about in his story in 1888.

The Happy Prince
ARO Gallery
Tue 13 to Sun 25 October
11am – 6pm
51 William St, Sydney

To view the virtual exhibition, click here.