Sydney to Host New Biennial of Contemporary Australian Art in 2017

'The National: New Australian Art' will focus on cultural identity.

Sydney, Australia. Photo Courtesy Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.

In March 2017, Sydney will present “The National: New Australian Art,” a new biennial focusing on contemporary art from down under. It will span three locations within the capital: the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

Conceived as an exhibition to be realized in three editions (in 2017, 2019, and 2021), the press release describes the curatorial vision for the exhibition as “[representing] a mix of emerging, mid-career, and established artists drawn from around the country and Australian artists practicing overseas.”

New and commissioned works will take the form of many mediums, including painting, video, sculpture, installation, drawing and performance. Artists include Matthew Bradley, Julie Gough, Alex Gawronski, Khaled Sabsabi, and Agatha Gothe-Snape, among others, in a total of 50 participating artists.

“The National: New Australian Art” will focus on “cultural identity, or the search for identity, particularly looking at how indigenous artists reference the land and narratives in their art, subjects well suited to Australia’s multi-cultural landscape,” according to ArtAsiaPacific.

“Each institution and each curatorial team has a different perspective, we are also looking at emerging artists, mid-career artists, and senior artists,” said Michael Brand, the director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW). “There are some guiding principles but it is not about identity here and politics there.”

“We wanted to create an event in Sydney where anyone interested in Australian or international art would feel that this is the moment to come and get a range of these experiences,” Brand continued.

“The National” recalls the now-defunct, highly-popular Australian “Perspecta,” which ran from 1981 until 1999 at the AGNSW. “We [the organizers] felt there was a gap after Perspecta and believed the best way to fill that gap was to work together and to do something big,” Brand told ArtAsiaPacific yesterday.

The full list of participating artists, according to venue, is as follows:

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
Khadim Ali

Zanny Begg

Matthew Bradley

Gary Carsley

Erin Coates

Marco Fusinato

Alex Gawronski

Julie Gough

Gordon Hookey

Peter Maloney

Karen Mills

Rose Nolan

Stieg Persson

Elizabeth Pulie

Ronnie van Hout


Art Gallery of New South Wales
Gordon Bennett

Megan Cope

Keg de Souza

Emily Floyd

Alex Gawronski

Gunybi Ganambarr

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

Alex Gawronski

Agatha Gothe-Snape

Alan Griffiths

Jess Johnson & Simon Ward

Richard Lewer

Archie Moore

Claudia Nicholson

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran

Justene Williams

Jemima Wyman

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