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The National 4: Australian Art Now

Sydney's free citywide art exhibition 'The National' is back with 48 new artistic projects across four of the city's premier galleries.
By Ben Hansen
April 20, 2023
By Ben Hansen
April 20, 2023

Sydneysiders are lucky enough to live in a city with a thriving gallery scene, and every two years, things turn up a notch — when several of the city's major cultural institutions band together for a free citywide program of art. Titled The Nationalthis biennial celebration of Australian art kicked off back in 2017, before returning for a blockbuster run in 2019 and then again for a much-need post-lockdown dose of art in 2021. Now, it's back with its latest iteration, The National 4: Australian Art Now.

This time around, there are four participating galleries — the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW), Carriageworks, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) and Campbelltown Arts Centre (C-A-C), marking the first time the program has expanded outside of the inner city and into the west.

Erika Scott, 'The Circadian Cul-de-sac', 2023. Installation view, 'The National 4: Australian Art Now', Carriageworks. Photo: Zan Wimberley

The exhibitions all run for a slightly different length of time at each gallery, with both C-A-C and Carriageworks getting their fix until Sunday, June 25, the MCA until Sunday, July 9 and the AGNSW until Sunday, July 23.

Forty-eight new artistic projects are appearing across the four distinct spaces. Some of the highlights include an immersive exploration of migration through the lens of artist Allison Chhorn's Cambodian-Australian family; The Circadian Cul-de-sac, an otherworldly mess of discarded items like fish tanks, Tampax instructions and empty photo frames from Erika Scott; a massive ceramic piece made from over 600 hand-formed tiles by Gerry Wedd; and Nabilah Nordin's colourful and immensely textured new sculpture Corinthian Clump.

Plus, for the first time, The National is also activating the Brett Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills, with Archibald Prize-nominee Natasha Walsh presenting her new body of work Hysteria, where she reinterprets famous paintings of women painted by men.

Heather Koowootha, The Bush people's walking pathways of Country sites and story places, 2023 . Installation view, The National 4 - Australian Art Now Carriageworks. Photo: Zan Wimberley

Top image: Anna Kucera.

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