Why we need to rehang our Australian art collections

The National Gallery of Australia has rehung its early Australian galleries, drawing on a broad curatorium to recontextualise our art history – and it’s not alone in the trend.

The way we present the narratives of early Australian art has changed. It had to.

No longer are these museum hangs myopic colonialist views, padded out with symbols of colonial opulence – furniture, silverware, ceramics, jewellery – and the token bark painting or boomerang. Rather, they are a significant step in righting wrongs, and finding truth through greater transparency to the narratives that sit behind and beyond Australian art.

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Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina