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	Image: Rushdi Anwar, Irhal (expel), hope and the sorrow of displacement (detail), 2013, School of Art Gallery, RMIT University, courtesy and © the artist Photo: Keelan O’Hehir

Artist talks: The National 2019

Meet the artists

A chance to hear from some of the artists featured in The National 2019 at the Art Gallery of NSW. Speakers include Rushdi Anwar, Peta Clancy and Selma Coulthard from Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre. What influences their work and what are the pressing issues they are responding to?

Image: Rushdi Anwar, Irhal (expel), hope and the sorrow of displacement (detail), 2013, School of Art Gallery, RMIT University, courtesy and © the artist
Photo: Keelan O’Hehir

Friday 29 March 2019


No bookings required

Duration 30 minutes

Related exhibition: The National 2019

Related gallery: Contemporary galleries

Selma Coulthard and Mervyn Rubuntja in conversation with Coby Edgar

Selma Nunay Coulthard grew up in Ntaria (Hermannsburg), where she went to school with fellow artist Ivy Pareroultja. Coulthard is an accomplished acrylic artist and started painting in watercolour in 2010. She explains: “I am a Pertama Maduthara Luritja tribe from Urrampinyi (Tempe Downs Station), south-west of Mparntwe. I grew up there, until the government started to remove half-caste kids from their families. I was taken to Ntaria. It is here that my love for art started, when I saw the Namatjira brothers doing their painting. I have always wanted to be an artist, and I just hope that my work will be recognised”.

Mervyn Rubuntja’s goal is to show the global public what his country looks like, understanding well the dual challenges of attaining an accurate depiction of the land and the complexity of traversing the landscape to see it. Painting country is important to Mervyn because the land he depicts belongs to his ancestral family, and it is inextricably tied to the traditional ‘Dreamtime’ story which has been passed on from generation to generation. “I am always thinking in my mind about the country that I’m going to paint. There are so many Dreamings that travel through ‘Mparntwe’ (Alice Springs): Kangaroo and Emu who they travel from up north to the East MacDonnell Ranges, and ‘Perentie’ (Goanna) who travel across to Simpsons Gap. We paint the country to tell the story about the Dreamtime in the Aranda language, like our elders did,” he explains. Mervyn was a cultural advisor for the Many Hands component for The National 2019 at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Coby Edgar is the assistant curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and the project manager for the Many Hands component of The National 2019. Coby is a Larrakia, Jingili, Filipino and English woman from the Northern Territory.


Friday 29 March 2019 11:15am – 11:45am

Location: Lower level 2

Rushdi Anwar

Rushdi Anwar’s installation, sculpture, painting, photopainting and video work often reflects on socio-political issues relating to Kurdistan, Iraq and the Middle East. As a Kurd who has lived through the recent socio political history of the Kurdistan region of Iraq and the Middle East, he draws on personal experiences and memories, and on contemporary issues of displacement, identity, conflicts, politics and the impact of colonialism in his work. Anwar explores these issues through an investigation of form and a sensitivity to both material and process.


Friday 29 March 2019 12pm – 12:30pm

Location: Lower level 2

Peta Clancy

Peta Clancy is a descendant of the Bangerang people from south-eastern Australia. Her photographs explore notions of the real and the perceived, and seek to challenge the viewer to focus on what might never have been noticed. She was awarded the 2018 Fostering Koorie Art and Culture grant from Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne, to research massacre sites on Dja Dja Wurrung and Bangerang Country. Her current work investigates these hidden histories in the landscape. Clancy lectures at Monash Art, Design & Architecture, Monash University, Melbourne.


Friday 29 March 2019 12:45pm – 1:15pm

Location: Lower level 2