– Highlights


Pipilotti Rist: Sip my Ocean

01 Nov - 18 Feb


Jon Campbell: MCA Collection

04 Dec - 25 Feb


Word: MCA Collection

04 Dec - 18 Feb

– Learning Events


Contemporary Kids School Holiday Program

25 Jan, 10.30am, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning


Art + Film

31 Jan, 6.00pm, Level 2: Veolia Lecture Theatre


Spoken Word Series

03 Feb, 1.00am, Throughout the MCA

– News from inside the MCA

The Importance of Laughter

We sat down with laughter connoisseur Shari Coventry from Sydney Laughter to discover the truth about laughter and why we need it ahead of this month’s Laughter Sessions. more

Coming up in 2018…

Next year is one of the most exciting and diverse seasons yet. Find out what’s on. more

Six Films that Changed My Life (for better or worse): Antenna's Rich Welch

To pave the way for the soon-to-come cinema binge at Antenna Film Festival,Co-Director Rich Welch shared a few of his life changing films. more

– Spotlights from the collection online

MCA Collection

Works from the MCA Collection

Collection Artist Interviews

Watch our latest interviews in the MCA Video Portal

Joint acquisitions by MCA and Tate

The Program promotes Australian art globally, helping Australian artists reach new audiences.

Blog – Collection Artist Spotlight: Kevin Gilbert

Posted on Sept. 6, 2016 by Claire Hastwell in Art Encounters.
On September 1 we reopened our Collection galleries after a complete artwork redux. You see, the MCA has acquired thousands of works by contemporary artists, and many of these have remained in art storage for years. Too many artists, too little wall space! Some of our Collection works have not been exhibited for 22 years. In the new MCA Collection rehang, Senior Curator Natasha Bullock has resurfaced four print works by artist Kevin Gilbert. This series of lino prints were exhibited in the MCA exhibition Tyerabarrbowaryaou II: I shall never become a white man, curated by Fiona Foley and Djon Mundine for the 5th Havana Biennial in Cuba in 1994, and later showed at the MCA. As I dived into some reading material on Kevin Gilbert, I found that he lived a multifaceted life. Here’s his story:


b.1933, Condobolin, New South Wales. d.1993, Canberra.

Born on the banks of the Kalara (Lachlan River) in Condobolin in central New South Wales in 1933, Kevin Gilbert is of the Wiradjuri Nation. He was orphaned at a young age and was raised, along with two of his sisters, by family at a fringe camp near Condobolin after they escaped from the orphanages where they were initially sent. After working his way from itinerant jobs to station manager, he was gaoled for 14 years after a domestic dispute resulting in the death of his first wife. During his time in prison Gilbert developed lino cutting techniques and fostered other interests across various arts professions including poetry and writing. His play The Cherry Pickers was nominated for the Captain Cook Memorial Award in 1970.

In 1971 Gilbert joined the Gurindji Land Rights campaign and was instrumental in establishing the Aboriginal Tent Embassy opposite Parliament House in Canberra in 1972. He crystallised central issues of the Aboriginal political struggle in his book Because a White Man’ll Never Do It and exposed the reality of surviving genocide in the oral history Living Black, a collection of Aboriginal peoples’ stories that won the National Book Council award in 1978. In 1979 he spearheaded the National Aboriginal Government protest on Capital Hill, Canberra, calling for acceptance of, and respect for, Aboriginal Sovereignty. In 1981 he moved to the bush on the Queanbeyan River and coordinated the Treaty’88 campaign.

To coincide with the 1988 opening of the new Parliament House, Gilbert commissioned and exhibited the ground breaking photographic group exhibition Inside Black Australia: Aboriginal Photographers’ Exhibition. Later that year the Governor-General presented him the 1988 Human Rights Award for Literature for his anthology Inside Black Australia, but Gilbert publicly refused it on the grounds that Aboriginal peoples continue to be denied basic human rights in their own land. In 1992 Gilbert was instrumental in re-establishing the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and spent most of the last year of his life there.

Gilbert’s art is held in most major national and state gallery collections and has been exhibited in the Netherlands, Greece, England, South Africa and the USA.

In 1992 he was awarded a four-year Creative Arts Fellowship for his outstanding artistic contribution to the nation but died six months later aged 59. Gilbert was posthumously presented the RAKA poetry award for Black from the Edge and was highly commended in the ACT Book of the Year award in 1995. His autobiographical book for children, Me and Mary Kangaroo, was shortlisted for the 1995 Australian Multicultural Award. His lino print series was exhibited in the MCA exhibition Tyerabarrbowaryaou II: I shall never become a white man for the Havana Biennale, Cuba in 1994.

Find more of the work by Kevin Gilbert in our Collection online.

MCA Collection: Today Tomorrow Yesterday displays long-time MCA Collection works alongside new acquisitions & commissions. The works have been exhibited together for their connection to the theme of ‘time’. See the exhibition for free until 5pm Fridays to Wednesdays and ‘til 9pm on Thursdays! #TodayTomorrowYesterday #MCAnow

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Claire Hastwell
– Digital Marketing Coordinator

Claire helps grow online audiences for the MCA. Listening to them, talking to them and understanding them. When she is not working she is hunting for the best scoop of gelato. Real Italian gelato.

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