The National 2021 Presents New Australian Art

The collaborative exhibition spans three venues and showcases 39 artists.

By Terry Christodoulou 16/11/2020

In the third edition of a six-year initiative presented in 2017 and 2019, the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks and The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) has announced The National 2021: New Australian Art.

The collaborative exhibition sees four curators bring together 39 exhibiting artists, collectives and collaboratives while connecting three of Sydney’s key cultural precincts.

The exhibition will display new and commissioned works by leading contemporary artists from around the country – including those in remote communities such as Aṉangu Pitjant-jatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY Lands), Yirrkala in north-east Arnhem Land, Zendah Kes (Torres Strait Islands), and Belyuen, on the north-west coast of the Northern Territory.

A combination of emerging, mid-career and established artists will represent overlapping themes of environment, planetary responsibility, global uncertainty, our relationship to country, collaboration and inter-generational learning across a diverse range of media including painting, photography, film, sculpture, textiles, installations and performance.

Co-curators Matt Cox and Erin Vink, of AGNSW, are presenting 14 artist projects with a view to frame art’s potential to heal and care for the natural and social ecosystems.

“The National 2021 at AGNSW will examine different modes of care: how it engenders our relationships with each other, how we navigate these relationships, and in turn the relationships we have with sentient Country,” says Cox and Vink.

Leyla Stevens Their sea is always hungry 2019, installation view, UTS Gallery, 17 September – 8 November 2019. Courtesy the artist © Leyla Stevens
Photo: Zan Wimberley

Elsewhere, Carriageworks will bring together over 40 artists to produce 13 projects – responding to the key issues of our time – emphasising sociality, collaborative enquiry and works that speak to history and experiences of place.

“The artists are connected across generations and brought together by a spirit of collaboration,” says curator Abigail Moncrieff. “With an attention to the present moment, many of the works consider responsibility and lived experience through psychological and intuitive responses, alongside some of the most urgent and activist voices from around Australia.”

Michelle Nikou Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, 2012–16 cement, sand, plaster, fibreglass, BondCrete, wood, neon, lead, steel, electrical components  128 x 275 x 68 cm overall  Image courtesy the artist and Darren Knight Gallery @ the artist

 

Further, thirteen artists consider diverse approaches to the environment, storytelling and inter-generational learning through their works in The National 2021 at the MCA.

“Unseen physical forces – wind, gases, emissions – power some works, while others transform plant matter, kangaroo teeth, echidna quills and plastic waste into powerful statements,” says MCA chief curator Rachel Kent.

Mehwish Iqbal, Assemblage of the Fragmented Land-scape (detail), 2020, silk screen, etching, collagraph, draw-ing, hand embroidery, 24k silver leaf on paper, image cour-tesy and © the artist, photograph: Mim Sterling

The National 2021: New Australian Art runs from 26 March – 5 September 2021 at AGNSW; 26 March – 20 June 2021 at Carriageworks and 26 March – 22-August 2021 at MCA. Entry is free at the three institutions.

The-national.com.au

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