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Reko Rennie Awarded Artbank + ACMI Commission 2020

ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image), together with Artbank, is excited to announce Reko Rennie as the recipient of the second $70,000 Artbank + ACMI Commission for his proposed new video work, What Do We Want.

Shot on cinematic 4K, What Do We Want will draw on 1970s Blaxploitation films and Rennie’s own martial arts practice to explore political, environmental and social questions through an Aboriginal Australian lens.

“I’m very excited and honoured to be offered this award by Artbank + ACMI to make my new video work, What Do We Want. This commission is an amazing opportunity to create a new work that I’ve wanted to make for some time and I look forward to sharing it with you,” said Rennie.

ACMI Director and CEO Katrina Sedgwick said: “Reko Rennie is a vital voice at the forefront of Australian contemporary art and we are thrilled to award Reko the Artbank + ACMI Commission, providing him with the support to pursue and extend his practice. Reko’s probing cinematic artworks defy categorisation and it’s exactly these types of works that the Artbank + ACMI Commission was designed for.”

Artbank Assistant Director, Emma Crimmings said: “We’re proud to have Reko Rennie as the next recipient of the Artbank + ACMI Commission. We look forward to connecting the outcomes of this project to the broader public through our art leasing program.

“Reko Rennie is one of Australia’s most exciting multi-disciplinary artists and through his new work, What Do We Want we anticipate Reko will emerge as a powerful and timely voice in 2020. Set in a dojo studio and paying homage to Blaxploitation films of the 70s, What Do We Want is a highly stylised and choreographed examination of urgent questions facing Aboriginal people today,” said Crimmings.

Established in partnership with Artbank, the federal government’s flagship support program for Australian contemporary artists, the Artbank + ACMI Commission is a three-year commissioning program that will enable Australian artists and filmmakers to create new works that are conceived at the intersection of art and cinema.

This partnership further expands ACMI’s vibrant commissioning program, which through a series of vital collaborations – with Artbank, Ian Potter Foundation, City of Melbourne and the Mordant Family – will directly fund Australian artists with $650,000 worth of financial support to create new work over the next three years and then exhibit it to thousands of people at ACMI and beyond.

What Do We Want will be exhibited at ACMI in 2020. For more information, visit

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Credit: Jacquie Manning

Media Contact:

Zoe Shurgold – ACMI Head of Communications 

03 8663 2415

0415 254 418

About Reko Rennie

Born in Melbourne in 1974, Reko Rennie is a self-taught interdisciplinary artist who explores personal and political narratives through the lens of his own Aboriginal (Kamilaroi/Gamilaroi) heritage and broader cultural themes around power, identity, memory and history. Rennie’s works are largely autobiographical, often combining the iconography of his Kamilaroi heritage with contemporary media that includes painting, sculpture, installation and filmmaking.

About ACMI commissions

ACMI has proven itself an astute commissioner, with a particular focus enabling leading practitioners to engage in cross-disciplinary collaboration. The $100,000 biennial Ian Potter Moving Image Commission has supported Angelica Mesiti’s The Calling (2014), Daniel Crooks’ Phantom Ride (2016) and was most recently awarded to Gabriella Hirst for her proposed work Darling Darling (working title) that will premiere in 2020. ACMI’s exhibitions program has commissioned many works including Julian Rosefeldt’s critically acclaimed Manifesto (2015) and Soda_Jerk’s critically acclaimed TERROR NULLIUS (2018).

In 2016, ACMI co-commissioned and premiered virtual reality experiences of Sandpit’s play Ghost, Toast and the Things Unsaid with Google Creative Lab and Grumpy Sailor, and Stuck in the Middle With You, an immersive dance experience by choreographer Gideon Obarzanek and award-winning filmmaker Matthew Bate. In 2017, ACMI premiered cross-disciplinary VR co-commission Prehistoric VR by Sydney-based puppetry company Erth.

In 2019, ACMI held a VR Showcase featuring two Mordant Family VR Commissions: Dr Christian Thompson’s Bayi Gardiya (Singing Desert) and Joan Ross’s Did you ask the river? alongside the acclaimed VR work Awavena by Lynette Wallworth. Tully Arnot Epiphytes (working title) is the third and final recipient of the Mordant Family VR Commission. More at

About Artbank

Established in 1980, Artbank’s two core objectives are to support Australian contemporary artists through the acquisition of their work and to promote the value of Australian contemporary art to the broader public. The Artbank collection is comprised of approximately 10,000 works by over 3,500 artists, across media, and includes some of the best examples of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia art produced over the last four decades. Artbank makes this work accessible through an art leasing program which is accessed by corporate, private and government clients nationally and internationally. More at

About ACMI

ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) is Australia’s national museum of film, TV, video games, digital culture and art and the world’s most visited moving image museum. Situated in the very heart of Melbourne, Fed Square, ACMI closed its doors this year to undergo a visionary redevelopment that will transform the museum into one of the world’s leading public institutions for screen culture and innovation, connecting audiences of industry, education and the public. ACMI will reopen mid 2020. More at