Three of Sydney’s leading cultural institutions have announced a list of the names of 49 artists who will feature in the inaugural edition of a new collaborative recurrent exhibition called The National: New Australian Art.

Opening on 30 March 2017 and running simultaneously at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), The National 2017: New Australian Art is the first edition of a six-year initiative, to be presented in 2017, 2019 and 2021, exploring the latest ideas and forms in contemporary Australian art.

The AGNSW, Carriageworks, and MCA have collaboratively selected emerging, mid-career and established Australian contemporary artists – living across the country and internationally – to present work as part of a single curated program at the three institutions.

Connecting three of Sydney’s key cultural precincts – The Domain, Redfern and Circular Quay, The National: New Australian Art has been conceived to complement the Biennale of Sydney and represents the only large-scale, multi-venue exhibition in the city to be focused solely on contemporary Australian art.

Curators for the 2017 edition of The National: New Australian Art are:

  • UNSW Art & Design graduate, Anneke Jaspers, Curator Contemporary Art and fellow UNSW Art & Design graduate, Wayne Tunnicliffe, Head Curator Australian Art, both from the Art Gallery of New South Wales;
  • UNSW Art & Design graduate, Lisa Havilah, Director and Nina Miall, Curator, both from Carriageworks;
  • Blair French, Director, Curatorial & Digital, from the Museum of Contemporary Art.

At the AGNSW, The National 2017 presents contemporary artists who are engaging with marginal narratives and contested histories, including how these are shaped by uneven power relations and conflicting value systems.

Anneke Jaspers said, “The works at the Art Gallery of New South Wales have mostly developed from archival or field research, and are underpinned by social engagement. These artists navigate and reinterpret various histories – aesthetic, social, economic, environmental – to offer new readings of the present and the future. Many of the works offer an Indigenous perspective, or draw out connections to other geographic locations and cultures.”

At Carriageworks, the curatorial approach focuses on the current fluidity of identity – individual and collective, real and imagined. Works presented in The National 2017 at Carriageworks address the fractures and contingencies of Australian identity, with a strong cross-generational and crossdisciplinary focus. Lisa Havilah commented, “Artists at Carriageworks examine 'the self' in the context of history, exploring questions of individualism, shared experience and relationally. Many of the artists will be making works that are created collaboratively and works across disciplines including contemporary performance.”

At the Museum of Contemporary Art, The National 2017 includes artists working with key concerns through time, pulling history through and beyond the present; in particular artists working with repeated gestures and processes, or returning to actions, images or motifs consistently through time in their practice.

The National 2017: New Australian Art

Art Gallery of New South Wales 30 March – 16 July 2017

Carriageworks 30 March – 25 June 2017

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia 30 March – 18 June 2017

Contributing artists include: Khadim Ali (UNSW Art & Design), Zanny Begg (UNSW Art & Design), Richard Bell, Gordon Bennett, Chris Bond & Wes Thorne, Matthew Bradley, Gary Carsley (UNSW Art & Design), Erin Coates, Megan Cope, Karla Dickens, Atlanta Eke, Emily Floyd, Heath Franco (UNSW Art & Design), Marco Fusinato, Gunybi Ganambarr, Alex Gawronski, Ghenoa Gela, Agatha Gothe-Snape, Julie Gough, Alan Griffiths, Dale Harding, Taloi Havini, Gordon Hookey (UNSW Art & Design), Ronnie van Hout, Helen Johnson, Jess Johnson, Richard Lewer, Peter Maloney, Nicholas Mangan, Karen Mills, Archie Moore, Claudia Nicholson (UNSW Art & Design), Tom Nicholson, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran (UNSW Art & Design),  Nell, Rose Nolan, Raquel Ormella, Alex Martinis Roe, Stieg Persson, Elizabeth Pulie (UNSW Art & Design), Khaled Sabsabi (UNSW Art & Design), Yhonnie Scarce, Keg de Souza (UNSW Art & Design), Simon Ward, Justene Williams, Jemima Wyman, and Tiger Yaltangki.