Lisa Reihana: Emissaries, February 2018

A year to remember

Message from Gallery Director Chris Malcolm

With the holidays almost upon us and the year drawing to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on what was a milestone year for the Gallery as we proudly celebrated our 20th anniversary. It is fitting that this year saw record attendances to the Gallery, reaching 48,000 visitors.

We opened the year by presenting Lisa Reihana: Emissaries, the highlight exhibition from the 2017 Venice Biennale, as part of the 2018 Perth Festival. We followed this with the Directors’ Cut exhibition featuring significant works principally drawn from the Curtin University Art Collection, which I curated  in collaboration with my predecessors John Barrett-Lennard (founding Director, 1995–2000) and Professor Ted Snell (Dean of Art, 2001–2009). This exhibition reflected our distinctive views of the Collection, which itself was celebrating its 50th anniversary.

In August we featured work of Curtin researchers in our two exhibitions Higher Degrees 18, showcasing the creative output of four doctoral candidates in the creative Arts, alongside an ongoing research project by the Centre of Sport and Recreation Research, Contesting Space 1: Women in Sport,which used the visual arts to engage with an important research topic.  The end of the year brought us the spectacularConfluence, featuring the work of master ceramicists Pippin Drysdale and Warrick Palmateer, whose 25-year partnership has produced some of the world’s most stunning ceramic forms.

In November, to mark the 100th anniversary of Armistice, the Gallery also presented Warship: The Glorious Decline of the Officers Library, a large-scale installation by artist Jo Darbyshire that provided the focal point for our Day of Remembrance flag-raising ceremony attended by Curtin staff, military dignitaries and the wider community.

Supporting our exhibition program, we presented more than 20 public talks as part of the Gallery’s Speakers Series, and held a number of school holiday workshops and guided tours as part of each exhibition. Behind the scenes, the Curtin University Art Collection team installed nearly 300 artworks in and around Curtin’s grounds and buildings, creating dynamic and vibrant spaces for staff, students and visitors to enjoy while on campus.  Online, we launched our new website, increased our social media followers to more than 3,800 and reached more than 20,000 people with our final exhibition posts.

In October we proudly launched the inaugural John Curtin Gallery Founders’ Club and are very close to achieving our initial membership target. I look forward to presenting some exciting new exhibition programs in 2019 that have been made possible through this support.