'Sugu Mawa', one of the new mask series by Alick Tipoti from Badu Island

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 03.11.11

Dates: 11.05.12 : 10.07.12

The National Gallery of Australia has announced that it will present UnDisclosed: 2nd National Indigenous Art Triennial at the NGA in Canberra from May 11 next year until July, followed by a national tour.

The artists selected by curator Carly Lane are:
Tony Albert, Vernon Ah Kee, Bob Burruwal, Michael Cook, Lorraine Connelly-Northey, Nici Cumpston, Fiona Foley, Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, Gunybi Ganambarr, Julie Gough, Lindsay Harris, Jonathan Jones, Danie Mellor, Naata Nungurrayi, Maria Josette Orsto, Daniel Walbidi, Christian Bumbarra Thompson, Alick Tipoti, Lena Yarinkura and Nyapanyapa Yunupingu.

The Triennial should logically have taken place last year, but it was claimed by Director Ron Radford that the Federal Government's so-called 'Efficiency Dividend' in fact cut a small percentage of an institution like the NGA's budget each year when it was statutorily supposed to grow. As a consequence, six staff were sacked and both touring and exhibitions postponed.

More than 260,000 visitors enjoyed the first National Indigenous Art Triennial : Cultural Warriors, which opened late in 2007 and toured over a period of more than two years, finally closing in Washington DC in early 2010.

For the Second Triennial, the National Gallery of Australia invited Carly Lane, former Curator of Indigenous Art at the Art Gallery of Western Australia to curate the exhibition. Works featured will be in a range of media including paintings on canvas and bark, sculpture, works on paper, photomedia, new media and large scale installations. While Brenda Croft, who curated Cultural Warriors, celebrated the 40 years of indigenous survival and growth since the Referendum of 1967, hailing five senior artists who hadn't even been citizens in their youth, Lane is vaguely “inviting viewers to unearth the layers of hidden and subtle meanings in the works of twenty wonderful contemporary Australian artists”. Ah, but will she offer us captions which might help that unearthing?

Danie Mellor and Vernon Ah Kee survive from the 2007 show.

BHP has ceased to be the Triennial sponsor, but Wesfarmers has come to the rescue, increasing its support for the NGA to become the Gallery’s official Indigenous Art Partner from 2012. The new partnership, valued at $1.4 million, will span will span four years and include new money for the 2nd National Indigenous Art Triennial as well as ongoing support for the Wesfarmers Arts Indigenous Fellowships program.

That partnership began in 2009 with the announcement of a national initiative aimed at increasing participation by Indigenous people in visual arts management across Australia’s gallery and museum sector.

Helen Carroll, Head of Wesfarmers Arts, explained: “Wesfarmers is committed to promoting the role of art and culture in our society – in particular, the central place that indigenous culture occupies in defining the contemporary face of Australia and our national identity on the world stage. The National Gallery is uniquely positioned to take a leadership role in nurturing the long-term growth and promotion of indigenous visual arts in this country. As a Western Australia-based company, we can see the very real benefits that this national program of support for indigenous art delivers for artists and communities in the regions as well as the urban centres.”

Rupert Myer, Chairman of the NGA, added, “The National Gallery of Australia continues to lead the way in the display and promotion of Indigenous art as demonstrated by the opening of the eleven new Indigenous art galleries in 2010, as well as the launch of the Wesfarmers Art Indigenous Leadership Program and the staging of the second National Indigenous Art Triennial. It’s exciting to be working with a dynamic company like Wesfarmers on these projects.” he said.

The successful applicants for the second annual Wesfarmers Arts Indigenous Leadership program, a 10 day course at the National Gallery in Canberra to learn about the national art collection and experience the behind the scenes operations of one of Australia’s leading visual arts institutions, are:
Georgia Mokak (ACT), Robert Appo (NSW), Ruby Alderton (Yirrkala), Sharon Nampijimpa Anderson (Lajamanu), Victoria Doble (South Goulburn Island), Vivian Warlapinn Kerinauia (Tiwi Designs), Bradley Harkin (SA), Jack Jans (Cairns), Zena Cumpston (VIC), and Suzanne Barron (WA)


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