Two major First Nations exhibitions and ground-breaking works by prominent international and Australian contemporary artists, will headline the National Gallery of Australia’s artistic program in 2023.
National Gallery Director Dr Nick Mitzevich said this year’s program reinforces the Gallery’s commitment to highlighting First Nations artists and collecting and exhibiting the pre-eminent works and artists of our times.
“The National Gallery is celebrating the vitality and importance of First Nations art with two major exhibitions –Ngura Pulka – Epic Country and Emily Kame Kngwarreye,” said Mitzevich.
“As well as being one of Australia’s most-celebrated artists, Emily Kame Kngwarreye is acknowledged as among the world’s most significant contemporary painters to have emerged in the 20th century.”
This extensive survey of Anmatyerre artist Kngwarreye’s work brings together the most important works of the artist’s oeuvre, from early vibrant batiks to her later monumental paintings on canvas.
Ngura Pulka – a landmark exhibition of major new works by artists from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands – is curated by Barbara Jean Humphreys Assistant Director, First Nations and Head Curator, First Nations Art Bruce Johnson McLean.
“Ngura Pulka is one of the largest and most significant First Nations, community-driven art projects to have ever been developed,” said McLean.
“The exhibition will present 30 major works by three generations of First Nations artists, including 27 large-scale three-by-three-metre paintings by individual artists, two astonishing three-by-five-metre collaborative paintings and an extraordinary installation of 2500 spears, the pinnacle of the decade-long Kulata Tjuta (Many Spears) project,” he said.
The Mulka Project – a collective of Yolnu digital artists from Northeast Arnhem Land – has been commissioned to illuminate the building’s façade in March as part of the 2023 Enlighten Festival.
Thanks to the generous support of the Gallery’s Indigenous Arts Partner Wesfarmers Arts, the National Gallery will also display the newly commissioned and acquired untitled (walam-wunga.galang), a major installation of nine large grindstone forms by renowned Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist, Jonathan Jones, which has been touring the country and internationally as part of the exhibition Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia.
In December the Gallery will host the world premiere of Body Sculpture, the highly anticipated new animatronic sculpture by international artist Jordan Wolfson.
“Brave and bold collecting has been at the heart of the National Gallery’s acquisition strategy since our foundation,” said Mitzevich. “This major new acquisition builds on this legacy, embracing new and emerging global paradigms outside of traditional collecting areas.”
This is the first solo presentation of Wolfson’s work in Australia and will be shown alongside a selection of earlier works, offering Australian audiences a full expression of Wolfson’s innovative vision.
The Gallery’s Know My Name gender equity initiative continues with two solo exhibitions by leading women artists: Changing From From to From, a presentation of recent works by leading Seoul and Berlin-based artist Haegue Yang, and an exhibition of the American photographer Nan Goldin’s most renowned series, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency.
From July, the Gallery will share more of its collection with regional and suburban galleries as part of the Sharing the National Collection initiative, funded under the Australian Government’s new National Cultural Policy.
“This support will allow us to share more of the National Collection with more Australians and local communities – making it a truly national collection,” said Mitzevich.
For more information about the National Gallery’s 2023 program, visit: www.nga.gov.au for details.
Image: Haegue Yang, Sonic Intermediates – Three Differential Equations, 2020, Courtesy of Galerie Barbara Wien, Berlin © Haegue Yang – photo by Nick Ash