'Ceremony is testament that our culture has survived – not only over the many thousands of years but, particularly, the last couple of hundred years – because of its capacity for innovation and adaptability.'
Ceremony remains central to the creative practice of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. This exhibition and program of events will animate and heal to reveal how ceremony is at the nexus of Country, of culture and of community.
From the intimate and personal to the collective and collaborative, ceremonies manifest through visual art, film, music and dance. Ceremonial practice has a performative element. At its heart is the concept of iteration, the artist’s conscious engagement with what has come before. Iteration can be expressed in the painted minutiae of tali (sandhills) or the click of a shutter.
The Triennial is the National Gallery’s flagship exhibition of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. The National Indigenous Art Triennial is made possible through the continued generosity of the National Gallery’s Indigenous Arts Partner Wesfarmers Arts and key philanthropic supporters.
Hetti Perkins, Arrernte and Kalkadoon peoples, Senior Curator-at-large, with National Gallery Curators.
Robert Andrew, Yawuru people
For Ceremony, Robert Andrew has created a new ‘writing machine’, revealing a word over the course of the exhibition. Read more here.
Joel Bray, Wiradjuri people
For Ceremony, Joel Bray presents Giraru Galing Ganhagirri, a new multiscreen video installation that explores the artist’s embodied relationship with Country and experience of diaspora. Read more here.
Kunmanara Carroll, Luritja and Pintupi peoples
For Ceremony, Kunmanara Carroll created several ceramic works that reference significant sites in his ancestral lands before he passed away in September 2021. Read more here.
Penny Evans, K/Gamilaroi people
For Ceremony, Penny Evans has created the sculptural installation, BURN Gudhuwa-li, exploring the cultural significance of fire and the devastating impact of failing to follow Aboriginal protocols of caring for Country. Read more here.
(Site specific) Robert Fielding, Western Arrernte and Yankunytjatjara peoples
For Ceremony, Robert Fielding has resurrected a car wreck, with its strategic positioning on Lake Burley Griffin commenting on the political annexing of Ngambri-Ngunnawal land. Read more here.
Nicole Foreshew, Wiradjuri people and Boorljoonngali, Gija people
For Ceremony, Nicole Foreshew exhibits alongside and has created work inspired by her profound relationship and collaboration with the late Gija artist of Nagarra skin Booljoongali (whose name means ‘big rain coming down with lots of wind’), who was a senior artist member of the Warmun Art Centre in the East Kimberley. Imbued in natural scents harvest from Gumbaynggirr Country in northern New South Wales, Foreshew has also created an immersive healing mist in Fiona Hall's Fern Garden. Read more here.
Margaret Rarru Garrawurra and Helen Ganalmirriwuy Garrawurra, Liyagawumirr-Garrawurra peoples.
For Ceremony, Margaret Rarru Garrawurra and Helen Ganalmirriwuy Garrawurra have created a series of weavings – or mol mindirr (black conical baskets/dilly bags) – and dupun (memorial poles) painted in their signature Garrawurra clan miny’tji (design). Read more here.
(Site specific) Dr Matilda House and Paul Girrawah House, Ngambri (Walgalu) – Wallaballooa (Ngunnawal) – Pajong (Gundungurra) – (Erambie) Wiradjuri peoples
For Ceremony, Dr Matilda House and Paul Girrawah House have undetaken the traditional practice of tree scarring in the National Gallery Sculpture Garden. Read more here.
Hayley Millar Baker, Gunditjmara and Djabwurrung peoples
For Ceremony, Hayley Millar Baker has produced a her first video work, Nyctinasty, reflecting on her connection to spirits and her Ancestors. Read more here.
Mantua Nangala, Pintupi people
For Ceremony, Mantua Nangala has created a major new triptych depicting a significant ancestral women’s site near the salt lake Wilkinkarra/Lake Mackay. Read more here.
S.J Norman, Wiradjuri people
For Ceremony, S.J Norman presents an iteration of Bone Library from the Unsettling Suite where he considers the living essence of so-called ‘dead’ First Nations languages through a live inscription, collaborating with members of the Walgalu community to engrave a dictionary onto the bones of “totemic colonial beasts” (sheep and cattle). Read more here.
Dylan River, Kaytetye people
For Ceremony, Dylan Rivers has developed a new work - Untitled (Bungalow) - that explores and celebrates his profound connection to Country and ceremony through macro (extreme close-up) photography. Read more here.
Darrell Sibosado, Bard people
For Ceremony, Darrell Sibosado has created a large-scale installation drawing on his cultural inheritance and amplifying the scale of the imagery to reflect the power of Aalingoon (Rainbow Serpent), whose shed scales are the pearl shells upon which the riji designs are inscribed. Read more here.
Andrew Snelgar, Ngemba people
For Ceremony, Andrew Snelgar presents a new series of engraved cultural objects including shields and clubs. Read more here.
(Site specific) Joel Spring, Wiradjuri people
For Ceremony, Joel Spring presents a cultural architecture intervention exploring the absence created by bushfires and the importance of caring for Country. Read more here.
James Tylor, Kaurna people
For Ceremony, James Tylor presents a new series of daguerreotypes and cultural objects exploring his connection to Country and culture. Read more here.
Yarrenyty Arltere Artists: Marlene Rubuntja, Western Arrarnta people, Trudy Inkamala, Western Arrarnta and Luritja peoples, Dulcie Sharpe, Luritja and Arrernte peoples, Rhonda Sharpe, Luritja people, Roxanne Petrick, Alyawarre people, Nanette Sharpe, Western Arrarnta people, Sheree Inkamala, Luritja, Pitjantjara and Western Arrarnta peoples, Rosabella Ryder, Arrernte people, Louise Robertson, Walpiri people, Cornelius Ebatarinja, Western Arrarnta and Arrernte peoples
Tangentyere Artists: Betty Conway, Pitjantjatjara people, Nyinta Donald, Pitjantjatjara people, Sally M. Mulda, Pitjantjatjara and Luritja peoples, Majorie Williams, Western Arrarnta people, Lizzie Jako, Pitjantjatjara people, Grace Robinya, Western Arrarnta people
For Ceremony, 16 artists from the Yarrenyty Arltere and Tangentyere art centres – led by Marlene Rubuntja – have collaborated on the soft sculpture Blak Parliament House, an Aboriginal take on Australia’s political heartland. Read more here.
Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu, Gumatj people
For Ceremony, Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu presents Maralitjja - a video installation that represents his Ancestral identity, evoking his father’s Gumatj bäru (crocodile) clan and his saltwater Country in northeast Arnhem Land. Read more here.