Past Exhibitions



Bill Henson

16 September – 11 December 2017

This exhibition presents recent photographs by Bill Henson, selected by the artist, and encompassing themes including portraits, nudes, lush museum interiors and transcendent landscapes.

Black Swan Prize for Portraiture

1 27 November 2017

Now in its 11th year, the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture is one of Australia’s richest portraiture prizes, featuring the $50,000 First Prize donated by the Lester Group, $10,000 Tony Fini Foundation Artist Prize, and $7,500 People’s Choice Prize donated by the Baldock Family.

Craft & Design Gallery Resonant objects

27 May – 15 October 2017

Our Craft & Design Gallery, Resonant Objects, brings together highlights from our Australian and international furniture collection in dialogue with the photographic work of David Goldblatt and Jan Nelson.

Micro Galleries Sky & Garden

1 February – 30 September 2017

In May 2016, the Gallery opened two new display spaces, Garden Gallery and Sky Gallery.

The second installment of the Wesfarmers Collection display focuses on the idea of landscape and what contemporary explorations of the theme can show us about our place, tastes and traditions.

Screen Space Richard Bell

12 August – 10 September 2017

One of Richard Bell’s most defining works, Scratch an Aussie, is a playful, serious and challenging video piece that explores racism in Australia.

The Rise of Sneaker Culture

13 May – 4 September 2017

More than 150 rare and iconic sneakers are now in Perth

After popular showings in Toronto, Brooklyn and Atlanta, the international exhibition The Rise of Sneaker Culture is on display at AGWA for its only Australian presentation.

The Rise of Sneaker Culture is the first exhibition to explore the complex social history and cultural significance of the footwear now worn by billions of people throughout the world.

Everyone has a history Part One: Plain Speak

25 February – 13 August 2017

Plain Speak launched a new annual series at AGWA, Everyone has a history, presenting compelling personal stories told through art.

Exclusive to PIAF, the inaugural show put Indigenous artists in the spotlight. Featuring 50 powerfully personal works, presented through a range of media; including video work, paintings, photography, sculpture and textiles.

Screen Space – Jesper Just

8 July – 10 August 2017

Sirens of Chrome is one of Danish-American video artist Jesper Just's most compelling works.

Just’s work is ambiguous, full of life’s uncertainties, a technique that draws viewers into the story allowing insertion of individual memories and associations into his evocative visuals and forceful soundtracks.

Objects Gallery Gifts to the Fallen

2 July 2016 9 July 2017

The exhibition, Gifts to the Fallen, is both a pragmatic and sentimental response to death, and the ceremonies around it, from an Aboriginal perspective. It presents a combination of traditional and contemporary objects that reference Aboriginal mortuary beliefs and practices.

Artists represented include Jean Baptiste Apuatimi, Janet Fieldhouse, Ricardo Idagi, Yvonne Koolmatrie, Dr David Malangi, Yhonnie Scarce, Roy Wiggan and Joyce Winsley.

Luminous: Tom Malone Prize 2003-2017

11 March – 25 June 2017

Our annual showcase of contemporary Australian glass

Glass is one of the most exciting and dynamic art forms in this country. It is a uniquely captivating medium, capable of almost endless transformation. Glass provides a perfect vehicle for the exploration of a range of themes, from the personal to the observational, and Australian makers are some of the world leaders in the medium.

Now in its fifteenth year, the Tom Malone Prize is a highly respected and eagerly anticipated event for contemporary Australian glass artists.

WA Focus – Nathan Beard

1 April – 28 May 2017

Nathan Beard is a young Western Australian artist whose work deals with the fluid nature of personal and cultural identities. Often based in an exploration of his own Thai-Australian background, his practice is conceptually and materially hybrid as he combines sumptuously rendered sculpture, photography and drawing to produce thoughtful, provocative and elusive experiences.

Craft & Design Gallery – Resonant Objects

20 March – 15 May 2017

Contemporary Australian Glass

This Collection display, with its focus on contemporary Australian glass, complements the exhibition Luminous: the Tom Malone Prize 2003-2017. It showcases many of the glass acquisitions AGWA have made since the beginning of the Tom Malone Prize in 2003. Several of these works were shortlisted in various years of the Prize; others were acquired outside the Prize but selected on the basis of the intimate knowledge of the glass field in this country we have gained whilst running this glass initiative.

Year 12 Perspectives 2016
28 January – 2 April 2017

Celebrating 25 Years of the Perspectives exhibition.

Year 12 Perspectives showcases work by some of the best, brightest and most talented graduating high school artists in WA, and is a barometer of what our youth are thinking and feeling.

In 2017, the Year 12 Perspectives exhibition celebrates its 25th year and the show will also highlight alumni who have become professional practitioners in the visual arts, including video interviews with previous finalists across the years.

WA Focus – Helen Grey-Smith

10 December 2016 – 19 March 2017

Helen Grey-Smith had a long career in Western Australia as a textile designer, painter and maker of collages. Ceaselessly inspired by the physical world around her, Grey-Smith’s subject matter reflected her deep
engagement with the landscape and flora of WA, and her fascination with the Asian culture of our region.

On display are textiles including full-length curtains, Grey-Smith's design for a Perth scarf detailing iconic landmarks, and fabric samples – as well as later works. Presented alongside a number of design objects from WA artists of the same period, the exhibition provides an insight into domestic interiors of the era and an overview of Helen Grey-Smith's practice.

Craft & Design Gallery – Resonant Objects
2 July 2016 13 March 2017

Showcasing works across a range of mediums, this newly introduced space allows for AGWA to express the many ways that craft and design practitioners use their materials to engage with the world.

With works drawn from historical, modern and contemporary areas of the Collection, this space provides a place to learn more about the significance of the handmade and the material world.

Its focus is contemporary and features works from Western Australian, Australian and international makers. Included from WA are glass makers David Hay, Kevin Gordon and Jamie Worsley, ceramicists Bela Kotai, Pip Drysdale and the late Beverly Gallop and jeweller Helen Britton with textile artist Justine McKnight.

Rise Sounds Gallery – Mei Saraswati

19 May 2016 – 27 February 2017

Swamp Gospel is a new sound work by Mei Saraswati. Created with the research expertise of wetland ecologist Jacqueline Giles, the work features Giles' recordings of long-necked turtle calls and sounds of underwater invertebrates.

Swamp Gospel is an ode to the former wetland and lake site on which the Art Gallery is situated. Audiences will sonically travel either up or down the water column in AGWA's new vertical sound gallery, immersed in melodic collaboration between species and the orchestral noise of biological activity.

Screen Space – Christian Thompson's HEAT

12 November 2016 – 26 February 2017

HEAT is a captivating work and a personal recollection of contemporary Bidjara artist Christian Thompson, visiting the harsh Australian desert landscape with his father.

Continental Shift

30 July 2016 5 February 2017

Landmark partnership between WA and the US

19th-century landscapes by Australian and American artists re-examined

An exciting partnership between the Art Gallery of WA, Chicago-based Terra Foundation for American Art and the University of Western Australia sees fifteen American landscape paintings shown in the context of their Australian counterparts.

"Unknown Land"

Mapping and Imagining Western Australia

17 September 2016 – 30 January 2017

Experience WA through the eyes of the first European explorers and colonists.

The first European explorers and colonists viewed Western Australia and its spectacular coast as an “unknown land”.

Of course, it was no such thing – Aboriginal people had owned the land for thousands of years and were quickly in conflict with the imperialists.

Whatever their motives – colonist, invader, explorer, settler, adventurer – the Europeans were awestruck by the land we now call Western Australia – and the opportunities it presented. This exhibition of the earliest watercolours, paintings and drawings of WA superbly captures images of iconic locations still familiar, but now mostly transformed. These European artists were the first of many generations to be inspired by the landscape of WA.

Portrait Month and Portrait Project

October 2016 30 January 2017

Portraits commemorate, transform, reflect, iconise and sometimes distort their subject in endlessly fascinating variety.

In an exciting new initiative for 2016, AGWA introduces Portrait Month where we explore the many forms of portraiture across photography, painting, video and sculpture. Taking centre focus is the State’s premier portraiture prize, the 2016 Black Swan Prize for Portraiture which features alongside AGWA’s own Portrait Project.

Micro Galleries – Sky & Garden

19 May 2016 – 23 January 2017

AGWA is celebrating the opening of two new display spaces, Garden and Sky. These Micro Galleries will launch with large works – accompanied by smaller works – from the Wesfarmers Arts Collection following the idea of ‘large works in small spaces’. The contrast between the giant works and the dimensions of the Micro Galleries creates an exciting dynamic.

The new spaces are intended to offer the opportunity to create unique artistic conversations. As such, the first display begins with a conversation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists across the two galleries.

Dissenting Voices

20 August 2016 – 8 January 2017

Dissenting Voices is an exhibition concerned with how artists respond to social issues, cultural concerns and political events. Their art also provides poignant commentary on the human condition.

Selected from historical, Indigenous and contemporary artworks in the State Art Collection, the works in the show explore themes of socio-political engagement, personal and national identity politics and resistance to acts of authoritarian control and aggression.

Many of the works, including installation, photography, sculpture, video and painting, are being shown for the first time together, along side a few new acquisitions, such as those by Raquel Ormella and Marco Fusinato.

These artists’ works will offer insights to viewers about the nature of political art, its varied purpose and potential meaning, from dissent and disturbance to contestation and condemnation.






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