Rockhampton Museum of Art (RMOA) has reopened to visitors following an extensive renovation of its gallery spaces – including expanding its permanent exhibition areas and updating its recreation and community offerings with a new restaurant and cafe – to become Queensland's largest regional art gallery.

Its site, on Darumbal Country overlooking the Fitzroy River (or Tunuba in Darumbal), is being recognised by the gallery in a bigger way than before. D Harding – a Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal artist – has been commissioned to create a new major artwork for the launch, which is part of an ongoing commitment by RMOA to honour its location’s past.

D Harding, who now lives in Brisbane, was born in Moranbah, a few hours from the gallery. The artist works across multimedia to lean into techniques their ancestors used, such as stencilling. RMOA commissioned Harding to reflect upon their deep family connection to the area in the work called Wall Composition on Darumbal, which uses pigment and acrylic binder on the gallery wall to subtly touch on the significance of gender roles in nature and within Aboriginal society. Harding was also inspired by the Aboriginal rock art of Carnarvon Gorge.

“The reimagined RMOA is first and foremost a meeting place. It will be a site that fosters a fundamental sense of place and community through a celebration of visual art, engaging locals and tourists in the evolving narrative of Rockhampton and its diverse cultural heart,” said Mayor of Rockhampton Regional Council Tony Williams in a statement. “We are thrilled to see the precinct come to life as a new community hallmark.”

The new world-class cultural hub for Queensland – almost six times the size of the old gallery – was funded by the Australian Government, Queensland Government and the Rockhampton Regional Council. Architecture firms Clare Design, Conrad Gargett and Brian Hooper Architect worked on the new dynamic layout for the community areas. And the huge exhibition spaces will house contemporary Australian artworks as well as RMOA’s existing collection acquired over the last five decades.

“We are excited to bring big artists and exhibitions to Rockhampton, but we are equally excited about making these creative spectacles accessible for the entire community, even people who might not consider themselves art aficionados,” said RMOA director Jonathan McBurnie in a statement. “It is a place where all are welcome.”

RMOA plans to host school and community groups in its newly revamped galleries, plus the biennial Gold Award – Queensland’s largest art prize of $50,000 – as part of its events calendar.

Rockhampton Museum of Art
212 Quay St, Rockhampton

Daily 9am–4pm