The National 2019: New Australian Art | Media Release

August 20, 2018

The Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) today announced that The National 2019: New Australian Art will present the work of 65 emerging, mid-career and established Australian contemporary artists living across the country and abroad.

A major collaborative venture, The National 2019 is the second edition of a six-year initiative presented in 2017, 2019 and 2021, exploring the latest ideas and forms in contemporary Australian art.

Connecting three of Sydney’s key cultural precincts – The Domain, Redfern and Circular Quay – The National 2019 follows a successful first edition of the exhibition held in the autumn of 2017 that attracted 286,631 visitors.

The 2019 exhibition is curated by AGNSW Curator of Photographs, Isobel Parker Philip; Carriageworks Senior Curator of Visual Arts, Daniel Mudie Cunningham; and MCA Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collections and Exhibitions, Clothilde Bullen with MCA Curator, Anna Davis.

As in its first year, the exhibition showcases new and commissioned work by contemporary Australian artists encompassing a diverse range of media including painting, video, photography, sculpture, installation, drawing and performance.

The National 2019 will continue the project’s curatorial ambitions as a large-scale survey of contemporary Australian art in the form of three distinct exhibitions that explore overlapping themes including hierarchy and power, dystopic futures, and ritual and improvisation.

Isobel Parker Philip said The National 2019 at AGNSW reveals how Australian artists are responding with subtlety and intensity to the times they live in, through artworks that are intricate, complex and often charged with a sense of precariousness.

“States of suspense and anticipation characterise the exhibition at AGNSW, as 24 artists navigate the boundary between chaos and control in work that is by turns political, poetic and personal,” Parker Philip said.

“Working with materials ranging from charred wood to many kilometres of yarn, the artists in the AGNSW exhibition explore and test conditions of gravity and suspension, impermanence and fragility,” Parker Philip added.

Against a backdrop of ‘dark sunshine’, The National 2019 at Carriageworks will present the work of 19 artists from across the nation whose work traverses the present moment, through the past, for the future.

Daniel Mudie Cunningham said, “The National 2019 at Carriageworks presents newly commissioned works that map memory and place-making, where the work of art is a form of emotional tourism. Exploring the boundaries of truth and fiction, the selected artists reflect on the individual’s place in an uncertain and ever-shifting world.

“At Carriageworks, artists send their work into the world of The National, like postcards mailed from the visual wreckage of local, national or global contexts,” Mudie Cunningham added.

The MCA will present the work of 21 Australian artists living across major cities, regional areas and remote communities. More than half of the artists exhibiting at the MCA are women.

Embracing their different cultural backgrounds, MCA co-curators Clothilde Bullen and Anna Davis said for The National 2019, “we have selected a diverse group of artists whose practices reflect urgent contemporary concerns.  Many pose questions around hierarchies of power and the ways in which different groups are represented, while other artists create new rituals and experiment with improvisational processes.”

“We are interested in how new forms of curatorial collaboration can act as a mirror for current national debates,” Bullen and Davis added.

Commissioned to encompass the three iterations of The National 2019, artist Agatha Gothe-Snape will continue her six-year documentary project, ‘The Fatal Sure/The National Doubt’, with the release of an online film trailer in the 2019 iteration.

The National 2019: New Australian Art 2019 opens on 29 March 2019 at AGNSW, Carriageworks and the MCA. Entry to the exhibition is free at the three institutions.

Exhibition Dates

Art Gallery of New South Wales 29 March – 21 July 2019

Carriageworks 29 March – 23 June 2019

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia 29 March – 23 June 2019


Tony Albert, Troy-Anthony Baylis, Eric Bridgeman, Sam Cranstoun, Cherine Fahd, Julie Fragar, Amala Groom, Tara Marynowsky, Mish Meijers & Tricky Walsh, Tom Mùller, Clare Peake, Sean Rafferty, Eugenia Raskopoulos, Luke Roberts, Thom Roberts, Mark Shorter, Nat Thomas, and Melanie Jame Wolf.


Robert Andrew, Rushdi Anwar, Peta Clancy, Fayen d’Evie, Nicholas Folland, Tony Garifalakis, Mira Gojak, Andrew Hazewinkel, Amrita Hepi, Eliza Hutchison, Linda Marrinon, Pilar Mata Dupont, Sally M Nangala Mulda, James Newitt, nova Milne, Izabela Pluta, Tom Polo, Koji Ryui, Sandra Selig, and Benita Clements, Noreen Hudson, Kathy Inkamala, Vanessa Inkamala and Mervyn Rubuntja from Itja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre.


Lucas Abela, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Kylie Banyard, Hannah Brontë, Janet Fieldhouse, Tina Havelock Stevens, Daisy Jupulija, Ms Uhl, Sonia Kurarra & Nada Tjiliga Rawlins, Eugenia Lim, Ross Manning, James Nguyen, Julia Robinson, Curtis Taylor & Ishmael Marika, Teo Treloar, Willoh S. Weiland, Mumu Mike Williams, Kaylene Whiskey, and The Unbound Collective: Ali Gumilya Baker, Simone Ulalka Tur, Faye Rosas Blanch and Natalie Harkin.


Agatha Gothe-Snape


Art Gallery of New South Wales
Hannah McKissock-Davis, 0498 001 217,

Kym Elphinstone, Articulate PR for Carriageworks, 0421 106 139,

MCA Australia
Stephanie Pirrie, 0430 517 722,