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My Country: The must-see NGV art exhibition exclusively from First Nations artists

NGV exhibition My Country showcases work from First Nations artists from each state.
(Left) Sophie Honess for the Country Road + NGV First Nations Commissions: My Country, on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne 22 March – 4 August 2024. Photo: Jacquie Manning. (Right) Installation view of Sophie Honess’ work Daruka 2024 on display in My Country: Country Road + NGV First Nations Commissions from 22 March to 4 August 2024 at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne. Photo: Tom Ross

If you find yourself in Naarm/Melbourne between now and August, there’s a new exhibition at National Gallery of Victoria showcasing First Nations artists from each state and territory to visit.

Installation view of Johnathon World Peace Bush’s paintings and Johnathon World Peace Bush and Pedro Wonaeamirri’s tunga Aminya Pukupanarli on display in My Country: Country Road + NGV First Nations Commissions from 22 March to 4 August 2024 at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne. Photo: Tom Ross

Presented by Country Road and NGV First Nations Commissions, My Country, the year-long biennial mentorship and exhibition program pairs First Nations artists with an esteemed industry mentor – to work collaboratively in response to a theme.

“The unique mentorship format—the only one of its kind in Australia—offers a career-defining opportunity to emerging practitioners to create a new work under the guidance of a respected mentor,” says NGV Director Tony Ellwood AM of the national program.

Alec Baker with Baker and Eric Barney’s work Ngura (Country) 2023 at Iwantja Arts, Indulkana for the Country Road + NGV First Nations Commissions: My Country, on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne 22 March – 4 August 2024. Photo: Rhett Hammerton

Supported and guided by their mentor, the artists – from different disciplinary backgrounds – have worked to the 2024 theme ‘My Country’ which is being exhibited as a group show at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia in Federation Square.

Weaving and textiles, installation, painting and other artistic disciplines are represented in the series showcase.

Installation view of Mitch Mahoney’s work on display in My Country: Country Road + NGV First Nations Commissions from 22 March to 4 August 2024 at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne. Photo: Tom Ross

The exhibiting artists include Warraba Weatherall, Mitch Mahoney, Jan Griffiths, Sophie Honess, artist duo Alec Baker and Eric Barney, Cheryl Rose, Aidan Hartshorn and Johnathon World Peace Bush.

Their respective mentors include Tony Albert, Maree Clarke, Peggy Griffiths, Jonathan Jones, Vincent Namatjira OAM, Denise Robinson, James Taylor and Pedro Wonaeamirri.

Structured to reflect and champion storytelling and knowledge-sharing systems that exist within First Nations communities through a creative artist-mentor relationship, the mentorship program aims to create a “major new platform for First Nations art and design in Australia”.

Following the exhibition, the eight artworks will be represented in the NGV collection – furthering an important creative legacy.

My Country is being shown at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia until August 4, 2024 with free entry.

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