The National Gallery of Australia's collections include more than 160,000 works of art across four main areas: Australian art, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander art, Asian art and European and American art
Works in the Gallery are part of Australia's national collection. They belong to the people of Australia and are preserved and presented for their enjoyment and education. It is the Gallery's intention to make the collection as widely appreciated as possible both in Australia and overseas.
In the current displays we are working with the collection in a different way to what you might expect in order to tell stories about the Australian experience and what it is to be an Australian.
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art
The Indigenous art of Australia is the part of oldest continuing living culture in the world and one of the two major art traditions operating within Australia today. The National Gallery of Australia collects art of the highest artistic merit and excellence created by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The National Gallery’s collection of European and American art develops and expands from the beginning of the nineteenth century in a variety of media: painting and sculpture; strong collections of original prints, posters, illustrated books and drawings; an extensive representation of the history of photography; and a selection of theatre arts, decorative arts and design.
In the Asian collection, diverse cultures, religions and histories are represented through art dating from ancient times to the contemporary. Sculptures, textiles, paintings, prints, manuscripts and photographs are displayed in three galleries: Art of the Indian subcontinent, Art of Southeast Asia, Art of East Asia.
Displaying traditional objects from the Pacific as art rather than artefact this collection spans one-third of the world’s surface, encompassing Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia with myriad cultures stretching from Papua New Guinea to New Zealand and Easter Island. It also ranges in time from 3500 years ago to the present day.