The National 2019: New Australian Art

The National 2019, Eugenia Lim, The Australian Ugliness, 2018The Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) will present the work of 65 emerging, mid-career and established Australian contemporary artists living across the country and abroad as part of The National 2019: New Australian Art.

On display from 29 March, The National 2019 is the second edition of a six-year initiative presented in 2017, 2019 and 2021, showcasing new and commissioned works by contemporary Australian artists encompassing a diverse range of media including painting, video, photography, sculpture, installation, drawing and performance.

Curators for the 2019 edition include Isobel Parker Philip, Curator of Photographs, Art Gallery of NSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Curator of Visual Arts, Carriageworks; Clothilde Bullen, Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander exhibitions and collections and Anna Davis, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

The National 2019 continues the project’s curatorial ambitions as a large-scale survey of contemporary Australian art in the form of three distinct exhibitions that explore overlapping themes including hierarchy and power, dystopic futures, and ritual and improvisation.

Isobel Parker Philip said The National 2019 at AGNSW reveals how Australian artists are responding with subtlety and intensity to the times they live in, through artworks that are intricate, complex and often charged with a sense of precariousness.

“States of suspense and anticipation characterise the exhibition at AGNSW, as 24 artists navigate the boundary between chaos and control in work that is by turns political, poetic and personal,” said Parker Philip. “Working with materials ranging from charred wood to many kilometres of yarn, the artists in the AGNSW exhibition explore and test conditions of gravity and suspension, impermanence and fragility.”

Artists on display at the Art Gallery of NSW include: Robert Andrew, Rushdi Anwar, Peta Clancy, Fayen d’Evie, Nicholas Folland, Tony Garifalakis, Mira Gojak, Andrew Hazewinkel, Amrita Hepi, Eliza Hutchison, Linda Marrinon, Pilar Mata Dupont, Sally M Nangala Mulda, James Newitt, nova Milne, Izabela Pluta, Tom Polo, Koji Ryui, Sandra Selig, and Benita Clements, Noreen Hudson, Kathy Inkamala, Vanessa Inkamala and Mervyn Rubuntja from Itja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre.

Against a backdrop of ‘dark sunshine’, The National 2019 at Carriageworks will present the work of 19 artists from across the nation whose work traverses the present moment, through the past, for the future. “The National 2019 at Carriageworks presents newly commissioned works that map memory and place-making, where the work of art is a form of emotional tourism,” says Daniel Mudie Cunningham.

“Exploring the boundaries of truth and fiction, the selected artists reflect on the individual’s place in an uncertain and ever-shifting world. At Carriageworks, artists send their work into the world of The National, like postcards mailed from the visual wreckage of local, national or global contexts.”

Artists at Carriageworks include: Tony Albert, Troy-Anthony Baylis, Eric Bridgeman, Sam Cranstoun, Cherine Fahd, Julie Fragar, Amala Groom, Tara Marynowsky, Mish Meijers & Tricky Walsh, Tom Mùller, Clare Peake, Sean Rafferty, Eugenia Raskopoulos, Luke Roberts, Thom Roberts, Mark Shorter, Nat Thomas, and Melanie Jame Wolf.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) will present the work of 21 Australian artists living across major cities, regional areas and remote communities. More than half of the artists exhibiting at the MCA are women. Embracing their different cultural backgrounds, MCA co-curators Clothilde Bullen and Anna Davis said “we have selected a diverse group of artists whose practices reflect urgent contemporary concerns.”

“Many pose questions around hierarchies of power and the ways in which different groups are represented, while other artists create new rituals and experiment with improvisational processes. We are interested in how new forms of curatorial collaboration can act as a mirror for current national debates.”

Artists at the Museum of Contemporary Art include: Lucas Abela, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Kylie Banyard, Hannah Brontë, Janet Fieldhouse, Tina Havelock Stevens, Daisy Jupulija, Ms Uhl, Sonia Kurarra & Nada Tjiliga Rawlins, Eugenia Lim, Ross Manning, James Nguyen, Julia Robinson, Curtis Taylor & Ishmael Marika, Teo Treloar, Willoh S. Weiland, Kunmanara (Mumu Mike) Williams, Kaylene Whiskey, and The Unbound Collective: Ali Gumilya Baker, Simone Ulalka Tur, Faye Rosas Blanch and Natalie Harkin.

Commissioned to encompass the three iterations of The National 2019, artist Agatha Gothe-Snape will continue her six-year documentary project: The Fatal Sure/The National Doubt with the release of an online film trailer in the 2019 iteration.

The National 2019: New Australian Art opens on 29 March and continues to 21 July at the Art Gallery of New South Wales; 23 June at Carriageworks; and 23 June at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Entry is free. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Eugenia Lim, The Australian Ugliness (still) (detail) 2018. Image courtesy and © artist – photo by Tom Ross