The National makes space for care and community

Spanning Sydney's galleries, The National engages with the conversations we should be having from First Nations narratives to the centring of women artists.

The National 2021: New Australian Art is testament to the power of artists to lead in troubled times. The exhibition is not meant to be a response to the recent bushfires, social justice failures and the pandemic, but they’re not far from the surface. Many of the 43 artists seem to be feeling for a way forward and across all three Sydney venues, there are strong themes of care, kinship, community and responsibility.

The exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art leads with a body of work by Mulkun Wirrpanda, who recently passed away. Her bark paintings about the termite mounds around Yirrkala show the rich symbiotic relationships between termites, nesting birds and other animals. John Wolseley’s panoramic multimedia work on paper also takes up the same subject of termites and the interconnected nature of life. 

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Jane O'Sullivan
About the Author
Jane O’Sullivan is an independent art writer based in Sydney. Her work has appeared in Vault, Art Guide, Ocula, Flash Art, Running Dog and the Australian Financial Review. She is also a former editor of Art Collector and Art Edit magazines.
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