The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia celebrates 30 years of transforming lives through contemporary art

MCA-Lindy-Lee-with-Secret-World-of-a-Starlight-Ember-2020-Copyright-the-artist-photo-by-Ken-LeanforeOn Thursday 11 November the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) marks 30 years of exhibiting, collecting, and transforming lives through contemporary art.

“The MCA has been on an extraordinary journey for 30 years. I would like to acknowledge the exceptional achievements of the MCA team who have guided the Museum, especially departing Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, the wonderful artists we have exhibited, the hardworking staff and our fantastic supporters, all of whom have made the MCA into the much-loved Museum it is today,” said MCA Chairman, Lorraine Tarabay.

“Our birthday is an opportunity to celebrate 30 years of collaborating with artists from across the country and around the world; 30 years of inspiring Australians of all ages through contemporary art; 30 years of challenging us to see and think about the world differently; 30 years of transforming lives through contemporary art.”

“Today’s celebrations are also an opportunity to give back to the community and thank our many supporters, members, visitors and friends for their continuing trust and encouragement over the years.”

“To further honour this special day, I am delighted to share the news that Lindy Lee’s beautiful work Secret World of a Starlight Ember has been made permanent on the MCA forecourt thanks to a donation from the Kerridge Foundation in memory of Maureen Kerridge,” said Tarabay.

MCA birthday celebrations will start at 10.00am on the MCA forecourt with a Welcome to Country by respected Gadigal Elder and MCA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group Member Uncle Ray Davison and a smoking ceremony to cleanse the body, the mind and Country.

This will be followed by a dynamic cultural performance by renowned Koomurri Aboriginal Dance Troupe. Celebrations will conclude with MCA Chairman Lorraine Tarabay sharing highlights across the MCA’s 30 years.

Thanks to the support of Major Partner Telstra, the MCA’s main summer exhibition Doug Aitken: New Era, part of the Sydney International Art Series, will be open to the public free of charge from 10.00am – 9.00pm. This continues Telstra’s generous 21 year tradition of support which first enabled the Museum to become free entry in 2000.

Throughout the day we will offer free Spotlight talks and Guided tours of MCA Collection: Perspectives on place to highlight the work of the Australian contemporary artists on show, and families and children aged 5 and under can participate in a free creative playdate with ARTplay on the Tallawoladah, MCA front lawn.

The MCA Store will celebrate with 30% off selected items on Thursday 11 and Friday 12 November, in-store and online. The products range from bestselling exhibition catalogues and merchandise to MCA mementos that visitors will love. Terms and conditions apply.

Events continue into the evening with the 2021 Lloyd Rees Memorial Event: Architecture and learning from Country, 6.30 – 8.00pm. This ticketed event reflects on what we can learn from Country and how it can inform our approaches to architecture, the built environment and public space as an extension of cultural practices, cultural expression and living histories.

Guests include artist Dan Boyd and architect Dillon Kombumerri and will be moderated by Keith Munro, Leader, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Initiatives at the MCA.

Celebrations end at lunchtime, Saturday 13 November, with free panel discussion, Working on Country, hear about highlights, memories and achievements from First Nation supporters at MCA.

Hear from current and former MCA Board Members and Chairs of the MCA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group as they reflect on the Museum’s achievements, including the impact of the MCA’s ground breaking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy launched in 2015, and the role of cultural agency within the arts sector.

The panel brings together current Chair of MCA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee Christine Evans (2016 – present), previous Chair Larissa Behrendt (2006 – 2012) and is facilitated by Keith Munro, Leader, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Initiatives at the MCA.

Keeping our staff and visitors safe is a priority for the MCA and we have rigorous COVID-19 safety protocols in place in line with the NSW Public Health Order. All visitors 16 years and over must present proof of full vaccination to our Hosts on entry. While inside the Museum and Store, all visitors over 12 years must wear a mask, and capacity restrictions are in place to ensure the safety of all.

For more information about the MCA’s 30th birthday celebrations, current exhibitions and visitor entry requirements, visit: for details.

Image: Lindy Lee with Secret World of a Starlight Ember, 2020 – copyright the artist | photo by Ken Leanfore