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News and Media

List of News and Media Articles

  • Artbank staff pick of the month

    Dhambit Mununggurr

    My Story II, 2018

    This work by Dhambit Mununggurr was acquired by Artbank in 2018 just before the artist really smashed through to the very top of the art worlds must have list!

    A Yolgnu women from Yirrkala, north-eastern Arnhem Land, Dhambit is the daughter of two of Australia’s most celebrated artists, her mother Gulumbu Yunupingu (1945–2012) and father renowned bark painter Mutitjpuy Mynynggurr. She began her painting career in 2004, however she sustained critical injuries in an accident shortly after and took many years to paint again using her left hand.

    My Story II’ is an extraordinary work detailing the artist’s life story and her familial ties. Her maternal grandfather, the great Mungurrawuy Yunupingu who saved the Tree of Life from destruction during the construction of the Nabalco mine is pictured at the top. Further down, Dhambit represents her uncles Galarrwuy and Mandawuy, both Australians of the Year, addressing the Australian parliament in support of the Treaty. The stars adorning the ceiling of the Musee du quai Branly in Paris that were painted by her mother are also present. And finally, Dhambit represents herself as the monolithic rock on Elcho Island.

    Her work is free and dramatic in style and concept, yet is instilled with Yolgnu tradition and a deep connection to culture and country. She works with acrylic on bark, which is a style that sits outside of the rules for Buku-Larrngay Mulka art centre in Yirrkala, however just as the artists and community have empowered mediums such as print and video, to respectfully express sacred designs, so too was it decided that Dhambit could work in this non-traditional medium.

    Dhambit is just one of many powerhouse female artists working from this incredible community including Noŋgirrŋa Marawili and Nyapanyapa Yunupingu. I am constantly blown away by the powerful barks, canvases, video and new media works coming from this incredible region. Artbank is so lucky to have many of these in the Artbank Collection!

    Dhambit Mununggurr, My Story II

    Enquire about this artwork

    Dhambit Mununggurr My Story II, 2018 Synthetic polymer paint on bark

    Dhambit Mununggurr My Story II, 2018

  • Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran

    My first work was purchased by Artbank in 2014. It feels like a lifetime ago, but I have memories of being overwhelmed. It sounds melodramatic, but the purchase occurred amongst a significant period in my emerging practice. I had just completed my MFA at UNSW Art & Design and was exhibiting a body of work at Artspace, Sydney as part of the 2014 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (emerging). At this time, I was 24, with no savings and had just commenced the City of Sydney, William Street Creative Tenancy program. Perhaps it was a result of cultural conditioning, but I was doubting the viability and possibility of a professional artistic career. Yet, I won this fellowship and Artbank purchased part of the installation. My outlook became more optimistic and perhaps my ambition grew too.

    Ramesh_photo_2_Mark Pokorny.jpg

    1. What is your relationship to Artbank?

    I am a contemporary artist with two works in the Artbank collection.

    2. When was your work first purchased by the Artbank Collection? Do you remember your response to that purchase?

    My first work was purchased by Artbank in 2014. It feels like a lifetime ago, but I have memories of being overwhelmed. It sounds melodramatic, but the purchase occurred amongst a significant period in my emerging practice. I had just completed my MFA at UNSW Art & Design and was exhibiting a body of work at Artspace, Sydney as part of the 2014 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (emerging). At this time, I was 24, with no savings and had just commenced the City of Sydney, William Street Creative Tenancy program. Perhaps it was a result of cultural conditioning, but I was doubting the viability and possibility of a professional artistic career. Yet, I won this fellowship and Artbank purchased part of the installation. My outlook became more optimistic and perhaps my ambition grew too.

    3. The Artbank Collection is a broad and even eccentric collection. What is the importance of your work we have to you or to the collection?

    I just put my name into the collection search and images of Silver Dickhead 2, 2014 and Multilimbed Dickhead, 2015 appeared. Looking at them side by side, they’re the perfect pair. One is a silver, blob-like head. It’s primarily monochromatic. The other is an overtly polychromatic, standing multi-limbed deity. It feels unsophisticated to focus on technique(s), but these works are highly significant to me in this regard. They reflect a time where I was learning to build more complex forms in ceramics and apply a broader range of glazes and surface treatments to achieve unexpected results (perhaps the term, ‘experimentation’ is appropriate here). As I look to my recent work, I’m able to recognise the stylistic developments originating from these two works.

    4. What does being in a national collection mean to you? Do you feel that your work has a connection to Australian stories?

    I believe terms emerging from the word ‘national’ occupy uncomfortable spaces in current times. Sadly, words such as nationhood, nationalism, nation building and so on seem to have been co-opted by the far right - often for xenophobic purposes. In the context of contemporary art discourses, I often think deeply about the significance of regionally specific collections.

    Particularly, in relation to constructions of centre and periphery in global contexts. Nonetheless, being included in this national collection is important to me. It feels significant to be part of a collection that reflects a plurality of perspectives from Australia’s different communities. To be brief, the works of mine in the collection reflect this diversity through interwoven references to Hinduism, Christianity, zoology and other aspects of material culture.

    5. Artbank prides itself on diversity and inclusion. Do you feel your work responds to these issues and if so how?

    I would never include this in biographical texts for art purposes, but I am a queer, Western Sydney artist of Tamil heritage with a refugee background. My work has been framed in a variety of ways. These have been related and unrelated to identity politics. In some ways I do believe my work responds to and reflects diversity and inclusion. Yet, I am cautious when using these terms. Perhaps a way to answer this question is to focus on the values I hope to embed in my work. Plurality, accessibility, multiplicity to name a few.

    6. What is your favourite artwork in the Artbank Collection? Why?

    I can’t look past Simryn Gill’s A Small Town at the Turn of the Century #9, 1999-2000. Tones of humour, earnestness, nostalgia and absurdity collide poetically in this series of portraits. There is something incredibly provocative about her substitution of individual’s heads with fruit and other flora. It’s seamless, yet pastiche-y. I always see or feel something different when I view works from this series. I think about collectability and connections to place.

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  • And the Keyword is…..

    A behind the scenes look at Artbank’s keyword project for 2020.

    Imogen Dixon-Smith: Curator Artbank

    It is an unprecedented time for arts organisations, with galleries closed and events postponed across the country. Artbank staff have moved their offices into the home and with no artworks to move around except for those on our own walls, we have taken the opportunity to focus on some projects that had been on hold during busier times.

    Curatorial and Registration have commenced the enormous task of updating keywords for our collection of over 10,000 artworks. With the launch of our new website, the timing couldn’t be more ideal. Ensuring each artwork in collection has relevant keywords attached to its record in our Collection Management System will greatly enhance the discoverability of the Artbank Collection when searching for works online.

    We have prioritised the most popular sections of our collection, including photography and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art to ensure the impact of the project will be realised as soon as possible. We closely assess the subject and attributes of each artwork and use a standardised thesaurus to select keywords relevant to the artwork. These keywords will provide more ways of searching and filtering through the collection.

    Refining the available terms to use as keywords has been a significant part of this project. The team has been faced with the complexity of categorising and defining certain styles and movements within contemporary Australian art. Our training as curators, artists and art historians has, on occasion, made us agonise over the use of simplified terms to describe artworks with expanded, innovative and experimental approaches to art making. However, we have greatly enjoyed the challenging discussion these issues have provoked to ensure our approach to keywords encompasses the multifaceted nature of our collection and allows for both general and specific ways of filtering and engaging with the collection.

    Once the project is complete, visitors to our website can look forward to searching the collection in a number of new ways. You will be able to find the perfect, picturesque landscape or a dynamic, abstracted painting by searching simple terms such as Landscape, Still Life or Abstract. For those clients interested in our Indigenous collection, you will be able to search for works by geographical region including Central and Western Desert, Torres Strait Islands or Arnhem Land. If there is a specific community or Art Centre you love, such Papunya Tula and their iconic acrylic paintings or the incredible barks skilfully painted by the Yirrkala masters, you will be able to find everything we have to offer.

    You can also search by place name to find an artwork depicting glorious Sydney Harbour or the gritty laneways of Melbourne. If you are keen on supporting unrepresented artists, you can browse artworks purchased through our Roadshow program or, if supporting the practice of female artists is your focus, you can filter the collection by gender. Something our Art Consultants are very excited to hear is that if you are looking to fill a large wall, you can easily browse our selection of artwork series to find something fitting. The possibilities will be endless to delve into Artbank’s rich holding of Australian contemporary art.

    Browse the Artbank Collection now!

    Michael Lindeman Paintings, Prints & Wall Hangings, 2007 Synthetic polymer paint on canvas

    Michael Lindeman Paintings, Prints & Wall Hangings, 2007 Synthetic polymer paint on canvas

  • Karla Dickens, Pound-for-Pound #8, 2019 Aluminium, vintage mattock handle, waxed linen thread, cotton string, steel pulleys, emu feathers, steel, acrylic paint

    Karla Dickens

    Pound-for-Pound #8  2019

    Artbank is very excited to announce a new acquisition by Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens. ‘Pound-for-Pound #8’ is part of a significant series included in the 2020 Biennale of Sydney, curated by artist Brook Andrew. The work is informed by Dickens’ research into Indigenous Australians who performed in circuses across the country. The symbolism makes powerful references to the black power movement and makes a bold statement of cultural assertion.

    Senior Curator Dr Oliver Watts discusses this important new addition to the Artbank Collection. 

    Karla Dickens, a Wiradjuri artist, although being a stalwart of Australian art for decades, is perhaps finally finding her place as one of the most important contemporary Australian artists working today. This was a remarkable year for her, having been curated into both the Sydney Biennale by Brook Andrew and the Adelaide Biennale by Leigh Robb.

    Having worked for over a year on both these significant bodies of work, Artbank took the opportunity to purchase one of her works in advance of the outings in the Biennales in order to support the artist in at least a small way in the lead up to these important career milestones. It was a great privilege to see a sneak preview of her work and to choose from these substantial bodies of work.

    Artbank was drawn particularly to a series of sculptural work called Pound for Pound. The work is broadly figurative and approximates a standing figure. Made up of a variety of materials the main form of the work is a boxing glove cast in aluminium that stands in for a head placed on a steel armature.

    Dickens uses found material a lot in her work to imbue her objects with a real sense of place and history. The artefacts, whether found wallpapers or Mattock handles, bear their previous life as a reified form of social history. Although the work must be read as a whole, the parts of the work can also be mined for historical and metaphorical value. In the Black Dog Series (2013), another work from the Artbank collection, you can see this process directed towards two-dimensional collage where Dickens uses old wallpapers, magazine imagery and other found surfaces.

    In Pound for Pound the montage approach is brought to sculpture, with an extremely mysterious and resonant effect. Feathers, old string, steel cable, a vintage mattock and of course the cast aluminium glove all come together for the viewer to read. The work from a formal point of view is both powerful and soft, old and new, heroic but declassed, about the labouring man but also like a sacred relic. 

    The work is currently showing as part of a bigger installation, A Dickensian Circus in the ante rooms of the Art Gallery of New South Wales for Nirin. The space is turned into a form of carnival based on the stories of Indigenous Australians who were part of circus shows and tent-boxing troupes, especially between 1920 and 1960. It is a subject that Rhoda Roberts explored in her play Natives Go Wild. David Milroy’s play King Hit (1997) also brought the stories of Indigenous boxers to the stage.

    There is no doubt that for many Indigenous boxers it was a road to money and fame and to a level of autonomy away from the eyes of the Protection Board. But of course there were still hardships surrounding the pressures of entertainment and exploitation and the level of travelling lead to a distancing from family and homelands. The athleticism of Indigenous people was celebrated though, Lionel Rose and Tony Mundine and many others begun their sporting lives as part of troupes.

    Tony Mundine is quoted as saying, "Back in the days we were poor and had no money for stuff so when these shows come to Grafton it was always a big deal…I was climbing the ladder so quickly I was knocking everyone out. I had 25 knockouts in a row. It was big cash my friend, big cash.”

    The title of this piece comes from the boxing troupe siren call, “A round or two for a pound or two.” Even the title therefore equivocates: A pound of flesh, a pounding for a pound. The Nirin catalogue notes describe the work in this way:

    “…evoking the charged context of the circus and its complicated historical legacy of entertainment and spectacle, agency and entrapment….She uses recycled everyday items to explore notions of persistence amidst inherent violence and misunderstanding. Made with uncommon rawness and daring, her meticulously fabricated works emanate a rare truthfulness and honesty.”

    In the present climate the work not only looks back but forward as a strong piece of political power and agency. The fist is reminiscent of the clinched fists of the Black Power movement; the strength of the works, especially massed as a group in the foyer of the gallery, are like a phalanx of fighters confronting the gallery goer. We are proud that at least part of this powerful installation will have a continuing force within the Artbank Collection and tell its story of Indigenous rights and cultural identity in Australia and abroad for years to come.

    Karla Dickens is a Wiradjuiri artis, born in Sydney 1967 and currently living and working in Lismore, NSW.

    Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Australia Council for the Arts, Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, and Create NSW, and generous assistance from Justine and Damian Roch.

    Pound for Pound #8 will be available through Artbank leasing program at the close of the exhibition. For more information contact Artbank.

     

     

    https://www.biennaleofsydney.art/

    https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/exhibitions/22nd-biennale-sydney-nirin/

    Artwork details: Karla Dickens, Pound-for-Pound #8, 2019 Aluminium, vintage mattock handle, waxed linen thread, cotton string, steel pulleys, emu feathers, steel, acrylic paint

    Karla Dickens Pound-for-Pound #8 2019

     

  • Name: Emma Crimmings

    Job Title: Assistant Director, Melbourne 

    What year did you join the Artbank team: 2016

    Describe your role and what you enjoy about working for Artbank:
    At Artbank I am responsible for the management of the Melbourne collection store and the client facing function of the art leasing scheme. The successful management of the art leasing scheme requires a balance of ongoing, consistent client management coupled with innovative business development initiatives. I enjoy working at Artbank as I am at once committed to the democratic principle of the program and in awe of the simplicity of its business model, whereby the leasing scheme ensures that artwork in the collection is accessible, and out being seen and appreciated in the broader community. It also and importantly functions as a critical revenue engine for the sustainability of Artbank’s operations and artist support objectives. Pure genius!

    Select an Artwork to represent you:
    Series: #13257-62, Clare Rae, Untitled #1–#6, 2010, Archival pigment print.

    Short explanation of your artwork selection:
    I have selected Clare Rae’s clever and jocund Untitled series as for me, it is the near perfect embodiment of what it has been like to live and work in our domestic environments during these recent and unsettling times. Beyond the present however, I have always admired Rae’s conceptual and quotidian moments that echo long standing formal and art historical references to feminism, photography and the body in space.

    Clare Rae, Untitled #1, 2010 - Artwork

    Clare Rae, Untitled #1, 2010

    Clare Rae, Untitled #1, 2010
    Clare Rae, Untitled #2, 2010 - Artwork

    Clare Rae, Untitled #2, 2010

    Clare Rae, Untitled #3, 2010 - Artwork

    Clare Rae, Untitled #3, 2010

    Clare Rae Untitled #4, 2010 - Artwork

    Clare Rae Untitled #4, 2010

    Clare Rae Untitled #4, 2010
    Clare Rae, Untitled #5, 2010 - Artwork

    Clare Rae, Untitled #5, 2010

    Clare Rae Untitled #6, 2010 - Artwork

    Clare Rae Untitled #6, 2010

  • Name: Paul Adair 

    Job Title: Collections Officer

    What year did you join the Artbank team: 2018

    Describe your role and what you enjoy about working for Artbank:
    As a Collections Officer I contribute to the overall management of the Artbank collection to ensure the appropriate storage, conservation and display of artworks and objects from the collection. I also assist with international shipping, exporting Artbank artworks to ports all over the world. 

    Select an Artwork to represent you: #12658
    #12658, Kenzee Patterson, amulet, 2010, Cast stainless steel and paint. 

    Short explanation of your artwork selection:
    amulet is a cast stainless steel ice cream tub which has been painted with googly eyes. I often respond to humour and use of everyday objects in contemporary art. Particularly sculptural objects that refer to something other than themselves. Kenzee’s practice has a depth and rigour which accompanies an object’s sometimes slight presence, which I respect and admire.

    Kenzee Patterson, amulet, 2009 - Artwork

    Kenzee Patterson, amulet, 2009

  • Name: Lara Odessa Dykun

    Job Title: Registrar

    What year did you join the Artbank team: 2018

    Describe your role and what you enjoy about working for Artbank:
    My role at Artbank is to be responsible for the management, care and movement of the Artbank collection. This includes coordinating freight, installation and display of Artworks around Australia, managing loans and incoming new acquisitions, condition reporting and storage of artworks and coordinating conservation of the collection. 

    I love working in the collections store where artworks come and go all the time. It’s always exciting to see artworks you have never seen in person arrive in the flesh. Artbank is such a great initiative – supporting living Australian artists and allowing the public access to lease an incredible collection. It’s such a unique collection, as it’s constantly moving, never static – enjoyed by different people all the time. 

    Select an Artwork to represent you:
    #13955, Louise Paramor, Wild Card #4 (Tiger), 2013, Plastic and fibreglass.

    Short explanation of your artwork selection:
    I chose this colourful plastic assemblage because Louise Paramor is a local, Melbourne based artist I admire (and I like the upside down cat). While her artworks are very playful, they also speak to the impact of mass consumerism. 

    Louise Paramor, Wild Card #4 (Tiger), 2013- Artwork

    Louise Paramor, Wild Card #4 (Tiger), 2013

  • Name: Rod Palmer

    Job Title: Senior Registrar

    What year did you join the Artbank team: 2010

    Describe your role and what you enjoy about working for Artbank:
    I joined Artbank in 2010 having moved to Sydney from Brisbane where I had worked as Senior Registrar of Collections at QAGOMA. My role at Artbank oversees the care and protection of the Artbank Collection in the art storage facilities in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. This involves leading a busy Registration team in the functions of acquisitions, loans, packing, international shipping, conservation care, transport and installation.

    Select an Artwork to represent you:
    #1227, Howard Arkley, Printout, 1981, Synthetic polymer paint on canvas

    Short explanation of your artwork selection:
    I have always admired this painting by Howard Arkley. Printout is a highly accomplished painting by an artist that absolutely mastered an airbrushed technique that leaves no room for errors in execution. It reminds me of decorative pattern making of crafts such as embroidery or needlework that my mum used to do when I was growing up. Interestingly Arkley had used this pattern a year earlier on one of 40 Trams painted by Australian artists that screeched their way around Melbourne streets during the 1980s. I like how the dots cleverly alternate between black and grey to give sharpness and softness to the airbrushed surface while the blue and red oscillate for space. The stencilled lines and shapes seem to float off the canvas. 

    For me this artwork is also a great example of the importance and significance of the Artbank Collection to the very grassroots of the Australian arts community. Purchased in 1981 Howard Arkley was an emerging mid-career artist rising in prominence, and it was going to be another 18 years before he went on to represent Australia at the 48th Venice Biennale with his more iconic lurid spray paint images of suburbia. Artbank was supporting Arkley at the early stages of his career and this is what I like about the Artbank collection. Since 1980, Artbank has supported artists at the beginning of their careers, and in doing so has established one of the most interesting collections in Australia, made accessible for everyone.

    Howard Arkley, Printout, 1981 - Artwork

    Howard Arkley, Printout, 1981

  • Name: Zoë Rodriguez

    Job Title: Director

    What year did you join the Artbank team: 2019

    Describe your role and what you enjoy about working for Artbank:
    As the director, I am responsible for leading Artbank’s strategic direction and making sure we live up to our two key policy objectives of supporting the Contemporary Australian art sector through acquisition of works, and providing broad community access to Australian Art through the art leasing scheme. It involves a lot of listening, reading and analysing a lot of reports and accounts, and making decisions with the team that will help us meet our key objectives.

    There is no doubt that one of the greatest joys of working for Artbank is having the opportunity to wander the racks of Australian art. Artbank’s eccentric nature – with works constantly coming and going and being stored where space is available when they arrive, rather than by any traditional art categorisation system – means you can be travelling past media, styles, decades and thousands of kilometres with one sweep of your eyes. I also delight in working for a public institution that continues to deliver successfully on its two key public policy objectives and that can bring such joy to so many through its work. Artists always recount the first acquisition Artbank made of their work with huge fondness (often this seems to have marked their feeling of acceptance and arrival on the contemporary art scene). Then there are our clients, who tell us how much their staff and visitors love to engage with Artbank works – they start conversations and create lively atmospheres in spaces that can otherwise be alienating and sterile. 

    Select an Artwork to represent you:
    #13939, Katherine Hattam, The Rights and Wrongs of Women, 2014, Book pages, book spines, charcoal and gouache on paper

    Short explanation of your artwork selection:
    This work evokes my childhood home and breakfast table and especially my mother’s feminism and activism through her art and poetry, and of course chimes in with the questions we are all asking in the wake of the MeToo movement. I grew up hearing about the choices women made and the reasons my mother decided on her own path. She encouraged me not to be constrained by traditional ideas of what a woman (or anyone for that matter) should do and be. I love the liveliness Hattam gives to domestic objects and her merging of the interior world with the exterior.

    Katherine Hattam, The Rights and Wrongs of Women, 2014 - Artwork

    Katherine Hattam, The Rights and Wrongs of Women, 2014

  • Name: Amber Gane

    Job Title: Administration Officer

    What year did you join the Artbank team: 2019

    Describe your role and what you enjoy about working for Artbank:
    Paperwork, emails and phone calls oh my! Administration work is much the same no matter where it is performed, however getting to do it in the Artbank vault is something special. With artwork in constant fluctuation through the doors there is always something new and beautiful, quirky or outright bizarre to see in the office. My interests and background are actually science, and I stumbled into the Artbank team completely by chance in 2019. I love it here though and won’t be moving on any time soon.

    Select an Artwork to represent you:
    #14710Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Among Monsters, 2017, Stained wood and glass.

    Short explanation of your artwork selection:
    I love this piece – the way the artist has taken wood, something usually so solid and still, and made it look like it could scuttle down the wall at any second - it thrills me! The title of this piece also captures my imagination, ‘Among Monsters’, I guess most people would assume that the spiders are the monsters. Though I’ve always assumed it to be the other way around. Invertebrates are, to me, stunning creatures trapped in an ever-changing world of two legged giants…

    Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Among Monsters, 2017 - Artwork

    Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Among Monsters, 2017