The cross-curriculum priorities address contemporary issues relevant to students as they develop into confident, engaged and effective national and global citizens. They provide students with knowledge, skills and values that can be applied to Australian Curriculum learning areas. Students will be better equipped to make sense of the world and contribute to building Australia’s social, intellectual and creative capital. The national art collection is well placed to support these priorities.
The National Gallery of Australia has the largest and most representative collection and display of Indigenous Australian art in the world. The collection includes works from the early nineteenth century to today, from artists working in remote and regional communities of Australia to artists working in cities around the world. The Gallery also has colonial works that illustrate early contact between Europeans and Indigenous people as well as contemporary Indigenous works that critically explore that part of Australia’s history.
The Gallery holds a significant Asian art collection as well as contemporary works by artists of Asian heritage living in Australia and works responding to Australia’s historical and contemporary engagement with Asia. Some works by Aboriginal artists depict a relationship with the Makassan fisherman of Indonesia that existed long before European settlement; others imagine a unity of cultures within the region or explore cross-cultural influences.
Many works in the national art collection highlight the resilience, beauty and fragility of the Australian environment. Some explore the environmental impacts of economic, political and social practices, while others seek to develop greater awareness and understanding about the environment. Creating worlds was the Gallery’s most recent exhibition to explore the theme of sustainability by promoting a greater understanding of and appreciation for the distinctive beauty and peculiarities of the Australian landscape.
The selections of works of art provided here relate to the three priorities identified by the Australian Curriculum:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
- Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia