Australia Council supports international arts exchange at APT8

APT8 Juan Davila Ohhhhhh! 2014Australian artists and First Nations curators will benefit from the expertise and influence of some of the world’s leading arts professionals from this week as part of The 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8).

APT8 is the flagship exhibition of the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA). The exhibition highlights extraordinary work from Asia, the Pacific and Australia.  This year’s event will include more than 80 artists and groups from more than 30 countries, including 17 from Australia.

Australia Council Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski said the Council was proud to have supported the Asia Pacific Triennial since its inception in 1993.

“The Asia Pacific Triennial is the premier visual arts event in our region and a significant inclusion on the international visual arts calendar,” said Mr Grybowski. “It is extremely important for our artists to make strategic international connections and to have their work seen alongside other leading artists from across the Asia Pacific region.”

“Supporting Australian representation at APT8 is part of our commitment to developing sector capacity through initiatives that enable artistic and cultural exchange, as well as critical engagement with international colleagues and audiences.”

“The importance of this investment has been confirmed by recent international arts activity research that highlighted the key role played by Australia Council expertise, networks and introductions in connecting Australian artists and arts organisations with international markets.”

“The Council’s International Visitors Program is one of our most important development initiatives for the Australian visual arts sector and APT provides an extraordinary platform to highlight our artists, curatorial expertise and leadership in the region.”

As part of the program, international arts professionals are brought to Australia to attend an intensive week-long program of meetings, events, industry discussions and tours of galleries, museums and studios. Australia Council Executive Director Dr Wendy Were said the Council was delighted to continue partnering with the QAGOMA to host the International Visitors Program, as well as developing a new initiative – the First Nations Curator Exchange.

“The last APT saw 15 arts professionals from some of the world’s most prestigious galleries take part in the International Visitors Program to see firsthand the diverse talent Australian contemporary arts has to offer and we look forward to welcoming 13 international visitors this year,” said Dr Were.

“The aims of the program are to raise the profile of Australia’s artistic excellence and curatorial expertise, demonstrate Australia’s growing regional engagement, and develop long-term relationships which will enable new partnerships, collaborations and market development.”

Visitors include representatives from Tate Modern, London; Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Musée du quai Branly, Paris; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

QAGOMA Director Chris Saines CNZM said the International Visitors Program added significant international attention to the APT’s profile.

“This is an amazing opportunity to show some of the world’s leading curators what the APT has been doing for more than 20 years, and why the art of the region is so vital and thrilling,” said Mr Saines.  “We look forward to welcoming all our international guests to Brisbane this week, and thank the Australia Council for their support of this initiative.”

The inaugural First Nations Curator Exchange will start this week, bringing together 12 Indigenous curators from Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The week-long event will enable an exchange of knowledge and ideas between First Nations’ curators working in all three countries to build strong connections.  The program is the first in a partnership between the Australia Council, Canada Council for the Arts and Creative New Zealand.

Dr Were said the partnership was an important development in the relationship between the three arts bodies and she looked forward to more joint projects.

“The Australia Council has been working closely with international arts bodies that are keen to pursue multi-lateral partnerships that benefit all our artists,” said Dr Were. “Australia, Canada and New Zealand share a strong commitment to celebrating and supporting First Nations’ art and culture, so this partnership was an obvious first step to cement that relationship.”

The First Nations delegation will visit galleries in Brisbane representing some of Australia’s leading Indigenous artists, meet contemporary arts curators from leading museums and galleries as well as representatives from the International Visitors Program, and fully immerse themselves in the APT8 exhibition, public programs and symposium.

The aim of the program is to raise the profile of First Nations curators at the prestigious APT8, increase knowledge and expertise and provide opportunities for First Nations curators to build Indigenous and non-Indigenous partnerships and long-term exchange projects. The Australian First Nations participants are: Nici Cumpston – Art Gallery of South Australia; Carly Lane – Art Gallery of Western Australia; Keith Munro – Museum of Contemporary Art Australia; and Djon Mundine.

Australian artists exhibiting include Abdul Abdullah; Richard Bell; Juan Davila; Janenne Eaton; Lawrence English; Gabriella and Silvana Mangano; Danie Mellor; Christian Thompson; and Yukultji Napangati.

The 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8) at QAGOMA runs from 21 November to 10 April 2016. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Juan Davila, Ohhhhhh! 2014. Oil on canvas – © Juan Davila, Courtesy Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art.