Skip to content

Unfinished business
artists land rights treaty

Jeff Samuels Brolga in flight (detail) from 'Poster for Apmira Artists for Aboriginal Land Rights 1981 exhibition of works for sale by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists’, National Art Archive, Art Gallery of New South Wales. Artwork © Jeff Samuels

Delves into the Gallery’s archive to explore the artist-led movement for land rights that took place in Sydney in 1981 and 1982

In the early 1980s, a group of over 500 Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, dancers, musicians, performers, poets and writers came together to stage a series of exhibitions and events to support land rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Apmira, the Arrernte word for ‘place, camp, country’, was adopted as the name for the group.

Unfinished business is a powerful display of archival material and artworks documents from the National Art Archive at the Art Gallery of NSW. It includes documents and photographs from the papers of the Apmira Festival Committee, which were donated to the Gallery by Guy Morrison, as well as music composed for one of the Apmira events. Other archival materials relate to similar events from the period, including the Aboriginal Treaty Committee’s Festival of Sydney exhibition Ab origine: from the beginning held in 1981. Artworks by Jeffrey Samuels and Reko Rennie from the Gallery’s collection further explore themes of Indigenous heritage, activism and cultural empowerment.

Note: This exhibition is in a part of the library only accessible by stairs. See the ticketing and information desk or phone 02 9225 1738 in advance to discuss any access needs.

6 Jul – 28 Sep 2019

Tue–Sat only

Tue, Thu, Fri 10am–4pm
Wed 10am–6.30pm
Sat 12-4pm

Free admission

Research library and archive