National Gallery announces 2022 program

Hayley-Millar-Baker-Gunditjmara-and-Djabwurrung-people-Nyctinasty (still,-detail)-2021-image-courtesy-and-©-the-artistThe National Gallery has announced its artistic program for 2022 which includes a range of exhibitions, contemporary projects from around the globe and freshly curated collection displays.

National Gallery Director Nick Mitzevich said this year’s program reinforces the Gallery’s commitment to First Nations and gender equity representation across the artistic program.

“The National Indigenous Art Triennial is a part of the Gallery’s DNA and has showcased more than 100 artists over 15 years – helping bring new understanding and audiences to the work of First Nations artists,” said Mitzevich.

The fourth iteration, Ceremony, curated by Hetti Perkins, Arrernte and Kalkadoon peoples, will present the work of 35 artists as they explore how ceremonial acts continue to be a prevalent forum for artmaking in First Nations communities today.

The Gallery’s gender equity initiatives continue with exhibitions Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now and Cressida Campbellthe most comprehensive survey exhibition of Campbell’s work – highlighting the depth and virtuosity of one of Australia’s most significant contemporary artists.

Following the launch of the Contemporary Project Series in 2021 with Project 1: Sarah Lucas, contemporary art practices are a highlight of the year with three new projects by Angelica Mesiti (Aus), Kara Walker (US) and Justene Williams (Aus).

When the Gallery opened four decades ago, the vision was to collect art from around the world, and in its 40th year, we celebrate this with Worldwide – a major display drawn from the collection and inspired by the Gallery’s founding history.

The National Gallery’s purpose is to collect, preserve, promote and share Australia’s collection of art nationally. “The national collection is owned by every Australian and our wish is to bring the collection closer to everyone. It is about putting the collection to work to help inspire communities,” says Mitzevich.

“We will continue to share art with the widest possible audience in diverse and accessible ways, including onsite, online and on tour.”

For more information about the National Gallery’s 2022 program, visit: for details.

Image: Hayley Millar Baker, Gunditjmara and Djabwurrung people, Nyctinasty (still, detail), 2021, image courtesy and © the artist.

Highlights of the National Gallery’s 2022 program:

Project 1: Sarah Lucas
Project 1: Sarah Lucas brings together recent work by one of England’s most influential and unapologetic artists. Known for her use of crude and humorous imagery, this exhibition explores the representation and experience of gender and confronts the realities of bodily existence. Project 1: Sarah Lucas is the first of the National Gallery’s Project Series and a Know My Name project. Curator: Peter Johnson, Curator, Projects. Dates: until 18 April 2022

Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now
The National Gallery continues to highlight the extraordinary contribution of women artists with part two of Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now. The exhibition looks at moments in which women created innovative forms of art. It examines cultural commentary, such as feminism, and highlights the creative and intellectual relationships that have existed between women artists throughout time. Curators: Deborah Hart, Henry Dalrymple Head Curator, Australian Art and Elspeth Pitt, Curator of Australian Art. Dates: until 26 June 2022

Jeffrey Smart
The year 2021 marked one hundred years since the birth of acclaimed Australian artist Jeffrey Smart. This major exhibition celebrates and commemorates this significant centenary. One of Australia’s most celebrated artists, Smart sought inspiration from the world around him – looking to the environment of urban and industrial modernity – which he transformed through his imaginative sense of theatre and intimate understanding of geometry and composition. These potent and intriguing images have become emblematic of 20th and 21st century urban experience. Curators: Dr Deborah Hart, Henry Dalrymple Head Curator, Australian Art, and Dr Rebecca Edwards, Sid and Fiona Myer Curator, Australian Art. Dates: until 15 May 2022

4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony
From the intimate and personal to the collective and collaborative, ceremonies manifest through visual art, film, music and dance. This immersive exhibition and program of events will challenge and unsettle; animate and heal. Through the work of 35 artists from around Australia, Ceremony reveals how the practice of ceremony is at the nexus of Country, culture and community. Curator: Hetti Perkins, Arrernte and Kalkadoon peoples, Senior Curator-at-large – with National Gallery Curators. Dates: 26 March – 31 July 2022

Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns: Significant Others
In the early 1950s, at the height of the Abstract expressionist movement, a new avant-garde began to emerge from a relationship between two young artists. From their run-down New York studios, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns began a private creative dialogue that introduced everyday signs, objects, and media into their work, collapsing the distinction between art and life. While their relationship would end after seven years, their art would continue to radiate the new ideas of their creative exchange. This exhibition will draw upon the National Gallery’s Kenneth Tyler Collection and holdings of key works by their predecessors and contemporaries. Curator: David Greenhalgh, Kenneth E Tyler Assistant Curator, Prints and Drawings. Dates: 11 June – 30 October 2022

Project 2: Kara Walker
Race, slavery and sexuality are explored in the art of leading North American artist Kara Walker. The moving image work, Testimony: narrative of a negress burdened by good intentions 2004, which was acquired for the national collection in 2021, will form the centrepiece of the first monographic presentation of Walker’s art to be held in Australia. Walker has been recognised for over two decades for her graphic work with black paper silhouettes. Her narratives subvert the racist imagery that was popularised during the era of slavery. Curator: Sally Foster, Senior Curator, Prints and Drawings. Dates: 2 July 2022 – 5 February 2023

Project 3: Angelica Mesiti: ASSEMBLY
A leading voice of her generation, Angelica Mesiti represented Australia at the 58th Venice Biennale with the three-channel video installation ASSEMBLY. In ASSEMBLY, Mesiti probes the nature of connection. She uses a stenographic machine to transpose into shorthand Australian writer David Malouf’s To Be Written in Another Tongue (1976). These notes become the basis of a musical score by Australian composer Max Lyandvert and a dance performance by the First Nations choreographer Deborah Brown. In the work, these are performed by musicians and dancers who represent the many ancestries that make up contemporary Australia. Project 3: Angelica Mesiti: ASSEMBLY was commissioned by the Australia Council for the Arts and is a Know My Name project. Curator: Dr Shaune Lakin, Senior Curator, Photography. Dates: 6 August 2022 – 29 January 2023

This major collection display is structured around pivotal works in the collection, at the heart of which is The Aboriginal Memorial of 200 dupun (hollow log coffins). One of the most significant installations in Australian art history, together these dupun stand as a memorial to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lives lost to colonial and ongoing conflict and trauma in Australia from 1788–1988. Working across time, place and media, Worldwide charts aspects of modern art, the cultural traditions of Australia, Asia and the Pacific, the centrality of First Nations art to understanding place, and the radical experimentation of each era. It celebrates the diversity of art and cultures across the globe and shows how fundamental ideas such as landscape, abstraction, memory, the body and the power of art itself continue to resonate, demonstrating the interconnectedness of culture and our experience of the world. Dates: 10 September 2022 – ongoing

Cressida Campbell
Cressida Campbell is among Australia’s most significant contemporary artists working with painting and printmaking. Directly inspired by her surroundings, for over 40 years the Gadigal/Sydney-based artist has transformed commonplace experiences from her life into single edition prints and painted woodblocks. Combining keen observation with a delicacy of line, Campbell’s woodblock paintings and prints capture the overlooked beauty of the everyday. Through her views of a working harbour or burnt bushland, an arrangement of nasturtiums or a plate of ripening persimmons, the artist celebrates the transitory moments of life. The survey exhibition will present the depth and virtuosity of Campbell’s work, extending from intimate interior views through to panoramic coastal landscapes. Cressida Campbell is a Know My Name exhibition. Curator: Dr Sarina Noordhuis-Fairfax, Curator, Australian Prints and Drawings. Dates: 24 September 2022 – 29 January 2023

Project 4: Justene Williams: Victory over the sun
Justene Williams’ performance Victory over the sun reimagines the futurist opera that caused a riot in the streets of Saint Petersburg in 1913. Williams’ adaptation of Victory over the sun recasts the opera with diverse bodies and reinterprets the costume designs originally made by the Russian artist Kazimir Malevich. The performance depicts the revolutionary overthrow of the sun, with characters trapping it in a black box to stop time and reimagine civilisation. Meanjin/Brisbane-based artist Williams has been making and exhibiting work since the 1990s. Her work utilises video, photography, sculpture and performance, often fused into high-energy environments. Justene Williams is a Know My Name project. Curator: Elspeth Pitt, Curator, Australian Art. Dates: Opening October 2022