The Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) will work together to create a new exhibition. The first nine artists (out of 50) announced as part of The National: New Australian Art share key themes in their work; the anxiety of identity and social engagement.

The show is part of a new series that will happen over six years (2017, 2019, 2021).

There will be at least one artist who will work across all three institutions to knit the show together. “We see it very much as a single exhibition taking place across all three institutions,” says Nina Miall, who is co-curating Carriageworks’ selection of artists alongside director Lisa Havilah.

Multimedia artist Taloi Havini will exhibit at AGNSW. Her video installation, Habitat, deals with the destruction of the land in her native Bougainville by a mining conglomerate that includes Australian company Conzinc Rio Tinto, and the effects this has had on the livelihoods of local people. Melbourne-born, Berlin-based Alex Martinis Roe is creating a series of video and performance works. South Australian painter Tiger Yaltangki combines elements of his Anangu culture with science fiction and his love of AC/DC and country crooner Hank Williams.

The MCA will exhibit Erin Coates, a Perth-based artist and creative producer working across video, installation and drawing. Her work focuses on extreme or intimate human physical action in relation to built environments. It will also feature Northern Territory artist Karen Mills, whose paintings explore identity, connection and disconnection with culture, geology and Australian history. Cross-disciplinary Melbourne artist Ronnie van Hout will also exhibit at the MCA.

The Carriageworks centrepiece will be an ambitious flag installation by Brisbane-based Indigenous artist Archie Moore. It responds to surveyor and anthropologist RH Mathews’s “very flawed” 1900 map that purported to identify all Aboriginal nations. Richard Lewer’s hand-drawn animation and corresponding performance examines Aboriginal deaths in custody. And Western Sydney artist Justene Williams is expanding an existing performance, video and installation work that will incorporate fencing, gymnastics and piano.

“The nine artists announced are representative of the show as a whole, not only in terms of where they are based but media, themes and ideas being explored,” says Miall. “We’ve run with this provocative title of The National not as a statement of nationhood, but [of] how those ideas are being challenged and undermined by contemporary artists.

“There are a number of things that distinguish The National from existing biennales of Australian art,” Miall says. “We have a strong cross-generational aspect of emerging and mid-career artists, a strong cross-disciplinary focus [and a keen interest in] commissioning and developing new works. The process of curating has been a really interesting and rewarding one.”

The full list of artists will be announced on December 1, 2016.

The National: New Australian Art 2017 will take place on the following dates:
Art Gallery of New South Wales: March 30 to July 30, 2017
Carriageworks: March 30 to June 18, 2017
Museum of Contemporary Art: March 30 to June 18, 2017