New Australian Art unveiled at Sydney’s premier cultural institutions

New Australian Art was today unveiled at three of Sydney’s premier cultural institutions, representing the first exhibition in a six-year partnership between the Art Gallery of New Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) that will continue biennially until 2021, presenting the latest ideas and forms in contemporary Australian art. Connecting three of Sydney’s key cultural precincts – The Domain, Redfern and Circular Quay, The National: New Australian Art is the only large-scale, multi-venue exhibition in the country focused solely on contemporary Australian art.

Presented concurrently at the three institutions, The National 2017 features work by emerging, mid-career and established Australian artists, showcasing new and commissioned work and encompassing a diverse range of mediums including painting, video, sculpture, installation, drawing and performance. The exhibition offers a holistic view of Australian art at a point in time, and fosters dialogue between generations of artists. The work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists features prominently across all exhibition venues, including those practising on country and those based in urban areas.

The National 2017 is curated by Anneke Jaspers and Wayne Tunnicliffe (AGNSW); Lisa Havilah and Nina Miall (Carriageworks); and Blair French (MCA). While curators focused on the delivery of the exhibition within their institutions, they worked together developing ideas and research, producing a single exhibition that unfolds across the three sites with key points of connection and dialogue.

At the Art Gallery of NSW, exhibiting artists explore the forces of social change. Their works open up new conversations with history and politics, looking at feminism, colonialism and our relations with the natural environment. From the vivid feminist intervention of Emily Floyd’s large scale sculpture, to the scarred beauty of the landscape in Taloi Havini’s mesmerising video and Helen Johnson’s paintings that unsettle Australia’s colonial history, the works gathered at AGNSW for The National 2017 look to our past in an endeavour to make sense of the present.

At Carriageworks, artists explore the hybrid Australian identity offering different perspectives on how identification is shaped by questions of experience, knowledge, history and power. Works present a strong performative element, including senior Kimberley regions lawman Alan Griffiths’ performance of the Bali Bali Balga with 15 indigenous dancers; an ambitious new commission by Justene Williams featuring a sculptural installation and live performance synthesising dance, costume, live music, electronic sound and vocals; and a major site-specific sculptural installation by Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran.

At the MCA, artists are drawn from every Australian state and territory, with their works considering recurrent subject matters, materials or the processes of art making. Encounter Khadim Ali’s 15-metre mural evoking migrant experiences of exclusion, isolation and waiting; the beautiful repetition of materials and forms in Rose Nolan’s monumental banner; and 32 metal-cast objects accompanied with a homemade furnace by Matthew Bradley. There is no one connecting theme at the MCA, although common elements – art that considers the actions of power, conflict that shapes the present, and an individual’s relationship to society – connect the works on display.

During the opening week of The National 2017, be captivated by a three-day program of talks, performances and events across all three venues. Take an in-depth look at contemporary Australian art: meet and hear from the exhibition’s artists and curators; encounter live performances, electronic sound and vocals at Carriageworks; enter Jess Johnson and Simon Ward’s homage to post-apocalyptic films and DIY culture at MCA’s ARTBAR, and enjoy a special presentation by Yolngu artists Gunybi Ganambarr and Yinimala Gumana at AGNSW. The National 2017 public programs continue throughout the coming months with artist talks, performances and workshops on offer alongside family and children’s activities and a wide variety of access programs.

The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated publication, edited by the curators with Genevieve O’Callaghan. It features curatorial overviews; commissioned essays by Sunil Badami, Daniel Browning and Helen Hughes; and extended entries for each of the 48 artists included in the 2017 exhibition. The publication is available for purchase at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Carriageworks and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia for RRP $34.95. It is also available online at the AGNSW and MCA websites.

The National 2017 is supported by a dedicated website ( offering a significant resource for users around the world on contemporary Australian art. It represents a comprehensive record of the artist participation in the inaugural exhibition, including artist biographies and portraits, curatorial and essays about artists’ work, and photographic documentation of artist works. From late April the website will provide curator commentary on every exhibiting artists’ work via both audio file and Auslan video. The website will also house short documentary films on 13 artists and their projects including: Khadim Ali (MCA); Zanny Begg (MCA); Emily Floyd (AGNSW); Alex Gawronski (all venues); Alan Griffiths (Carriageworks); Dale Harding (AGNSW); Archie Moore (Carriageworks); Nell (MCA); Claudia Nicholson (Carriageworks); Tom Nicholson (AGNSW); Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran (Carriageworks); Rose Nolan (MCA); and Justene Williams (Carriageworks).


Art Gallery of NSW

Gordon Bennett
Megan Cope
Keg de Souza
Emily Floyd
Gunybi Ganambarr
Alex Gawronski
Agatha Gothe-Snape
Dale Harding
Taloi Havini
Helen Johnson
Nicholas Mangan
Alex Martinis Roe
Tom Nicholson
Raquel Ormella
Khaled Sabsabi
Yhonnie Scarce
Tiger Yaltangki


Richard Bell
Chris Bond & Wes Thorne
Karla Dickens
Atlanta Eke & Ghenoa Gela
Heath Franco
Agatha Gothe-Snape
Alex Gawronski
Alan Griffiths
Jess Johnson & Simon Ward
Richard Lewer
Archie Moore
Claudia Nicholson
Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran
Justene Williams
Jemima Wyman

MCA Australia

Khadim Ali
Zanny Begg
Matthew Bradley
Gary Carsley
Erin Coates
Marco Fusinato
Alex Gawronski
Agatha Gothe-Snape
Julie Gough
Gordon Hookey
Peter Maloney
Karen Mills
Rose Nolan
Stieg Persson
Elizabeth Pulie
Ronnie van Hout

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain
30 March – 16 July 2017
10am–5pm daily
10am–10pm Wednesday

245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh
30 March – 25 June 2017
10am–6pm daily

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
140 George Street, The Rocks
30 March – 18 June 2017
10am–5pm daily
10am–9pm Wednesday