Australian Collection at QAG

Published on October 4th, 2017

An exciting reimagining of the Australian collection has opened at QAG.  Curators, along with Director Chris Saines, have taken this rare opportunity to re-present the Gallery’s Australian art holdings, collected for more than 120 years, in new and innovative ways.

The reconfigured spaces capture major historical moments from first contact to colonisation, and exploration to immigration. Bringing the Indigenous and contemporary Australian collections together with the Gallery’s historical holdings, the display emphasises stories about Queensland and Brisbane from the region’s own perspective.

Major new contemporary works by Helen Johnson, Daniel Boyd, Dale Harding, Alick Tipoti and Sonja Carmichael will feature among celebrated and iconic pieces by Gordon Bennett, Arthur Boyd, Rupert Bunny, William Dobell, Ian Fairweather, Ethel Carrick Fox, R Godfrey Rivers, Sam Fullbrook, Vida Lahey, Sidney Nolan and many more.

Visitors are invited to discover a fresh perspective on the Australian Collection with Words & Pictures, our ongoing drop-in drawing activity, inspired by writers and artists.

The Australian Collection is the first step towards returning the Queensland Art Gallery building, as closely as possible, to the intended vision of architect Robin Gibson AO, an expansive, open space with clear sightlines throughout, lending each gallery a beautiful sense of connectedness to the whole. The plan to open up the building enabled us to think of the space in an expansive way. Passers-by in the Whale Mall will again be able to look down into the Gallery through our reopened windows.

Bringing together art from different times and across cultures, the exhibition traces narratives of geography — as country, as landscape, as the place we live and work — and we share stories of traversal and encounter, of immigration, colonisation and the expatriate experience.

After 120 years of building the Collection, there are many stories to tell; in doing so, we acknowledge that we live in a country with a complex history. And then we let the works speak for themselves.

Visit the Australian collection hub to delve into the stories and connections between the artists and artworks on display.


(Picture Kamilaroi/Jiman/Kooma people / Judgement Day (Bell’s Theorem) 2008 / The James C Sourris, AM, Collection.)