Tag: indigenous art

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Ramsay Art Prize 2023

Tuesday, June 13th, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

To the best of my knowledge, until late last month there had never been a major Australian art prize awarded to   a performance piece. It had to happen eventually, and the breakthrough moment came at the Art Gallery of South Australia, where local girl, Ida Sophia, took out the $100,000 Ramsay Art Prize, for her […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Wynne Prize 2023

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Although the Wynne Prize for landscape (and very occasionally, figurative sculpture) is twenty years older than the Archibald Prize, the portrait show gets all the headlines. It seems local audiences agree with Clement Greenberg, the champion of late modern Abstraction, who said landscape was “overrated”. Not being an Aussie, he did not proceed to transfer […]


Julia Gutman is the Winner

Friday, May 5th, 2023 Blog,

This year’s Archibald Prize is a victory for youth. A 29-year-old artist has painted – or rather stitched – a portrait of a 27-year-old pop star. It’s not the worst work in the show, but I wouldn’t have called it as the best. My first impression of this year’s selection was that it was exceptionally […]


Museum Dreaming

Friday, April 7th, 2023 Blog,

When it comes to cultural matters, Australia is the land of wishful thinking. The entire rationale behind the Art Gallery of NSW’s Sydney Modern Project, valued at $344 million, was “build it and they will come”. After three months this is already looking like a pipe dream. The former NSW Government’s planned destruction of the […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Ever Present in Singapore

Sunday, September 4th, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Not so long ago, Aboriginal art was fighting for a place in the mainstream, trying to shake off the anthropological baggage that allowed sceptics to dismiss its claims to contemporary relevance. White fellas made ‘art’, blackfellas made artefacts. It wasn’t all that different to a once-popular distinction between men who made art, and women who […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Heart of Country

Tuesday, August 30th, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

One wonders if audiences are finally coming to terms with bark painting. It’s simultaneously one of the oldest living art forms on the planet, and one of the newest. The roots of the medium stretch back into prehistory, not only pre-dating western forms of painting, but the invention of paper, and even the papyrus used […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

NATSIAA 2022 in Darwin

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

For almost 40 years Telstra has had a dream run with its sponsorship of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA). Held every August at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT), the competition has become the primary focus for Indigenous communities and individual artists from all parts of […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Hadley’s Art Prize 2022 & MONA

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Unlike Errol Flynn and Douglas Mawson, I’d never stayed at Hadley’s Orient Hotel in Hobart – until it hosted an art prize. Established in 1834, Hadley’s is one of the oldest hotels in Australia, and it trades lavishly on its historical connections. There are plenty of hotels that are more up-to-date and luxurious, but not […]


The Archibald Prize 2022: Blak Douglas is the winner

Saturday, May 14th, 2022 Blog,

Politics is never far away from the Archibald prize, but it’s often that nebulous strain called “art politics”. This year, with the winner being announced in the middle of a federal election campaign, it was always going to be hard to keep attention focused on the aesthetics. Blak Douglas (AKA. Adam Hill), proved to be […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

2022 Biennale of Sydney: rīvus

Tuesday, April 26th, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

When he began to plan the 23rd Biennale of Sydney, this year’s director, José Roca, thought of Australia as a hot, dry country in which water was a precious resource. By the time the show got underway, a month ago, Sydney was well into its wettest March on record. Since then, the clouds and rain […]