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‘The National’ is back in 2021 with a collection of new Australian art

‘The National’ is back in 2021 with a collection of new Australian art

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First launched in 2017, ‘The National’ is a compelling biennial survey that showcases the varied and vital work being made by Australian artists of different generations and cultural backgrounds from urban, regional and remote communities across the country.

The third chapter in the series, titled ‘The National 2021: New Australian Art’, is now open to the public, with works on display across three major Sydney institutions: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks and Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA).

The exhibition will display a diverse range of works and media including painting, photography, film, sculpture and textiles, as well as installation and performance. 

Day in the Life by Karrabing Film Collective, ‘The National 2021’ (Carriageworks).

The National 2021 / News highlights

  • Following exhibitions in 2017 and 2019, ‘The National’ returns to Sydney in 2021 with a dynamic survey of Australian art.
  • The presentation showcases works by artists from differing cultures and regions, with 39 new commissions at the heart of the exhibit.
  • Open now, ‘The National 2021: New Australian Art’ is on show at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA).
  • Entry to all three venues is free.

Presenting 39 new commissioned projects by established, mid-career, emerging artists and artist collectives, three distinct exhibitions have been developed by the program’s four curators, Matt Cox and Erin Vink (AGNSW), Abigail Moncrieff (Carriageworks) and Rachel Kent (MCA Australia). Each exhibition invites collective dialogue about the ideas and concerns mobilising some of Australia’s most significant contemporary artists.

There are overlapping curatorial themes in this large-scale survey of contemporary Australian art including a focus on the environment, its destruction and our planetary responsibility, global uncertainty, and our relationship to Country, collaboration and inter-generational learning. 

‘The National 2021’ is on display until June 20 at Carriageworks, until August 22 at the MCA and until September 5 at AGNSW. Entry is free at all three venues. 


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‘The National’ is a dynamic biennial survey that showcases the varied and vital work being made by Australian artists.

Daily Architecture News

Bilirubin Bezoar by Isadora Vaughan, ‘The National 2021’ (Carriageworks).  
Anonymous Was a Woman by Kate Just, ‘The National 2021’ (MCA). Photograph: Simon Strong.
Assemblage of the Fragmented Landscape by Mehwish Iqbal, ‘The National 2021’ (MCA). Photograph: Mim Sterling.

Burning candle (2021) by Darren Sylvester. Installation view ‘The National 2021’ (Carriageworks). Photo: Zan Wimberley.

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