UNSW Galleries stands on an important place of learning and exchange first occupied by the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples at UNSW’s Paddington campus. The gallery was built on the legacy of the former Ivan Dougherty Gallery (1977–2009), which under the leadership of the late Nick Waterlow OAM played an influential role in Australian and international contemporary art and culture.

The space we now know as UNSW Galleries opened with its first exhibition, aptly titled ‘Making Change’, in August 2013. The project brought together twenty-four leading First Nations artists “redefining the cultural identity of the nation to reflect a more multiculturally diverse and outward-looking society,” as stated in the exhibition notes.

This inaugural exhibition perfectly represented the vision for UNSW Galleries—to make space for local communities to disrupt and reveal new ideas. With an emphasis on learning through exhibition-making, UNSW Galleries has cemented itself as a leading university art museum dedicated to supporting artists, designers, curators, and writers pushing the boundaries of creative practice and social discourse.


The 'Making Change' exhibit featured Mervyn Bishop's now iconic photo of PM Gough Whitlam pouring red soil into the hand of Vincent Lingiari symbolising the return of Wave Hill station back to the Gurindji people. Photo: Britta Campion. Courtesy of UNSW Galleries.

The gallery’s commissioning program has played an essential role in Australia’s arts ecology, fostering pivotal opportunities for artists to develop and present ambitious new work. Over the past few years, the gallery has supported major commissions by Archie Moore, Elizabeth Pulie, Gordon Hookey, and Khadim Ali, with several acquired by leading museum collections.

Since its inception, UNSW Galleries has supported over 900 artists, designers, curators, and writers across 100 projects, and has welcomed over 150,000 visitors through its doors on the corner of Oxford Street and Greens Road in Paddington. In celebration of these achievements, UNSW Galleries is pleased to be opening two major exhibitions by renowned Australian artists Renee So and David Sequeira.

‘Provenance’ is the first major exhibition of Renee So in Australia, co-presented with Monash University Art Museum and curated by Charlotte Day. The exhibition surveys a decade of ceramic and textile works that playfully engage with art history, museum collections, and popular forms of gendered symbolism.

‘History & Infinity’ brings together new and recent work by acclaimed artist and curator David Sequeira that employs the languages of colour, space, and geometry to intervene and rethink the standard narratives of art.


UNSW Galleries commissioned Archie Moore's powerful work 'Family Tree', which was displayed in 2021. Photo: Zan Wimberley. Courtesy of UNSW Galleries.

With the launch of these two projects, UNSW Galleries marks a renewed commitment to commission bold new work, cultivate meaningful collaborations with creative practitioners, and stage exceptional presentations of contemporary art and design.

UNSW Galleries Director José Da Silva says, “Our tenth year offers a timely opportunity to reflect on the past decade of achievements while looking to the future of the gallery. In ten years, UNSW Galleries has become an important site for gathering, conversation, and diverse interpretations of contemporary visual and material culture. We look forward to continue connecting with audiences through an ambitious program that places artists and designers at the forefront of exhibition-making.”

‘Renee So: Provenance’ and ‘David Sequeira: History & Infinity’ open 17 August and continue to 19 November 2023. Join UNSW Galleries in celebrating ten years in a series of public programs and events.

Celebrating 10 Years: Renee So & David Sequeira Opening Event

August 07, 2023

UNSW Galleries celebrates ten years of exhibition-making with new projects from Renee So and David Sequeira.

6pm Thursday, 17 August
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In Conversation: David Sequeira & Rachel Kent

August 07, 2023

Learn more about the practice of artist and curator David Sequeira in conversation with Bundanon Trust CEO Rachel Kent.

2pm Saturday, 19 August
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Exhibition Tour: Renee So & Charlotte Day

August 07, 2023

Join artist Renee So and exhibition curator Charlotte Day for an intimate walkthrough and discussion of ‘Provenance’.

3pm Saturday, 19 August
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