New Senior Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Art

The Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Dr Brian Kennedy, has announced the appointment of Ms Brenda Croft as the new Senior Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Art.

'I am delighted to welcome Brenda Croft, who has already gained an impressive reputation for strong, exciting and innovative indigenous art projects. She is an excellent communicator and will bring new energy to the Gallery's major role as the institution charged with presenting the best of Australian art, nationally and internationally.'

Dr Kennedy paid tribute to Mr Wally Caruana, who has been such a respected and admired Senior Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art. After some twenty years building up the NGA's collection, publishing and exhibiting it throughout Australian and abroad, Mr Caruana will be taking a personal post with the Gallery to complete a number of publications and as co-ordinating curator of the much anticipated exhibition Oceania, scheduled for the NGA in March 2004.

'Wally Caruana has been a truly exceptional curator", Dr Kennedy said. "A loyal and wise colleague, his patient and kind personality have endeared him to all. His professional expertise in the area of indigenous Australian art is unparalleled at this time.'

Ms Croft's appointment was also welcomed warmly by Mr Wally Caruana.

Ms Croft, currently the Curator of Indigenous Art at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, is a distinguished artist, lecturer, writer and arts administrator.

Her works have been exhibited in major national and international exhibitions including Song of the Earth, Museum Fredericianum, Kassel, Germany 2000; Biennale D'arte contemporain 8th Festival of Pacific Arts, Noumea/New Caledonia and the Signs of Life: Melbourne International Biennale (1999),
Oltre il Milto (Beyond Myth) al latere section, 48th Biennale(1999); Africus: Johannesburg Biennale (1995); and The Boundary Rider 9th Biennale of Sydney (1992/3).

A member of the Northern Territory's Gurindji Nation, Ms Croft is a founding member of Boomali Aboriginal Artists Co-operative in Sydney and served as its General Manager from 1990-96. In 1995 she was awarded a Master of Art Administration from the College of Fine Arts, UNSW.

In 1996, Ms Croft was the inaugural Australian recipient of the Chicago Artists International Program, combining this with the Australia Council Greene Street Studio, New York, USA, which she held till April 1997. In 1998, Ms Croft was a lecturer in the Art Theory Workshop at the Australian National University's Canberra School of Art.

'I feel extremely honoured to have been selected as a Senior Curator at Australia's premier visual arts institution,' Ms Croft said.

'I am very much looking forward to working with everyone at the National Gallery of Australia and know that high expectations await me, particularly given the achievements of the Indigenous department in building its magnificent Indigenous cooperative over the past fifteen years,' Ms Croft said.

'I feel confident and excited about the challenges ahead and hope that I will meet the expectations and aims of the National Gallery of Australia and the indigenous and broader visual arts communities around Australia,' she said.