National Gallery of Australia announces major sponsorship of new National Indigenous Art Triennial

18 April 2007

A major new arts partnership between the National Gallery of Australia and BHP Billiton will see the first National Indigenous Art Triennial exhibition open at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra on 12 October 2007 — the National Gallery's 25th Anniversary.

Details of this exciting new arts initiative were announced today by Mr Rupert Myer AM, Chairman of the National Gallery of Australia Council and Mr Chris Lynch, Executive Director and Group President, Carbon Steel Materials, BHP Billiton.

The National Indigenous Art Triennial is expected to become a permanent event in the Australian and international art calendar. Every three years a different Indigenous guest curator will be invited to curate an exhibition.  Inclusion in the Triennial will be by invitation only with artists from every State and Territory representing a diversity of regions throughout Australia. Works selected for the Triennial will have been created within the past three years resulting in a highly considered snapshot of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contemporary art practice. A scholarly full-colour publication will accompany each exhibition.

“I am delighted that in the National Gallery of Australia's 25th Anniversary year, BHP Billiton is partnering with us to provide an opportunity to showcase Australia's leading contemporary Indigenous artists. The Triennial will fulfill the need for a fully curated exhibition of outstanding quality that profiles the work of contemporary Indigenous art across Australia", said Ron Radford, Director of the National Gallery of Australia.

“The National Gallery considers it essential to include such an event on the artistic calendar. The National Indigenous Art Triennial will be an important complement to existing annual, biennial and triennial visual arts events", he said.

Mr Lynch said BHP Billiton was proud to be a key supporter of the National Indigenous Art Triennial. 

“This is a very fitting partnership for us. Through our offices and operations across Australia, many of which are located within rural and remote areas, we have long-standing relationships with Indigenous communities. We have a long history of supporting Indigenous cross-cultural programs in Australia and we continue to look for ways that we can help contribute to the communities in which we operate or have a presence, so that we can leave a lasting, positive legacy within our communities. We are immensely proud to be associated with the National Gallery of Australia and this landmark event,” he said. 

The inaugural National Indigenous Art Triennial exhibition, CULTURE WARRIORS, will be curated by Brenda L Croft, Senior Curator Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the National Gallery of Australia and a member of the Gurindji and Mudpurra communities. Thirty artists have been selected to exhibit work in the exhibition, encompassing painting on canvas and bark, sculpture, textiles, weaving, new media, video, photo-media and installation works. CULTURE WARRIORS draws inspiration from the 40th Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and pays specific tribute to a core group of artists, whose respective careers span the four decades since the Referendum.

CULTURE WARRIORS will be on display at the National Gallery of Australia from 12 October 2007 to 10 February 2008. Following that, selected works from the inaugural Triennial, CULTURE WARRIORS, will travel throughout Australia as part of the National Gallery of Australia’s Travelling Exhibitions program.  Venues include the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.

For further information please contact:

Caroline Vero
National Gallery of Australia
+61 2 6240 6431

Elizabeth Malone
National Gallery of Australia
+61 2 6240 6603

Samantha Evans
Senior Media Relations Advisor
BHP Billiton
+61 3 9609 2898 or 0400 693 915