The Australian collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales connects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art – from the oldest continuous cultures in the world – with stories told by a legion of Australian artists from the early 19th century to the present. These works of art come together to form an Australian collection that is among the finest and most representative in the country.
Works by Australian artists help reframe our history and its global connections, its deep past and its complex manifold futures. Highlights from the collection include 19th-century shields and ink drawings by Indigenous artists that reveal the impact of colonisation, as well as iconic visions of that same contested landscape that helped define a longstanding image of Australia. It also features 20th-century exemplars of the development of modernism in Australia and their echoes in contemporary art practices from around the country. In an art museum conceived for Australian artists, we recognise Australian art as having always been international, reflecting our more than 150-year history of being outward-looking and cosmopolitan.