War­wick Thornton
EVER PRESENT: First Peo­ples Art of Australia

27th May – 25th September 2022
National Gallery of Australia

Ever Present: First Peo­ples Art of Aus­tralia sur­veys his­tor­i­cal and con­tem­po­rary works by Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Islander artists from across Aus­tralia. Drawn from the nation­al col­lec­tion and Wes­farm­ers Col­lec­tion of Aus­tralian Art, the works includ­ed in this exhi­bi­tion bridge time and place and are inter­con­nect­ed through sto­ry and experience.

Although Ever Present is a cel­e­bra­tion of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Islander art, it does not shy away from Australia’s com­plex his­to­ries. The works chal­lenge stereo­types about First Nations peo­ple and what defines their art. The artists con­test pop­ulist views of Aus­tralian his­to­ry, using art as a tool of resis­tance and replac­ing phys­i­cal weapon­ry with wit, satire and jux­ta­po­si­tion to con­front view­ers and to encour­age con­ver­sa­tions that are essen­tial to dis­pute out­dat­ed myths and ideologies.

Ever Present includes the work of over 80 artists as it con­sid­ers sev­en over­ar­ch­ing and inter­linked themes: Ances­tors + Cre­ators; Coun­try + Con­stel­la­tions; Com­mu­ni­ty + Fam­i­ly; Cul­ture + Cer­e­mo­ny; Trade + Influ­ence; Resis­tance + Coloni­sa­tion; and Inno­va­tion + Identity.

Togeth­er the works under­line the ever-present exis­tence of our First Peoples.


War­wick Thornton

Way of the Ngangkari, 2015
High Def­i­n­i­tion video, 9:16, colour, silent
10 min­utes 28 seconds
Edi­tion of 3