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Mosman Art Gallery wins national award

22 May 2015

An innovative Aboriginal art exhibition in a former World War II naval fuel tank has earned Mosman Art Gallery the top award at the prestigious 2015 Museums and Galleries National Awards (MAGNA).

Bungaree’s Farm, which was commissioned to mark the 200th anniversary of Governor Macquarie’s allocation of land to Bungaree and his clan at Georges Heights in Mosman, was selected as 2015 National Winner and a winner in the Indigenous Project category.

The exhibition was held in the T5 Camouflage Fuel Tank at Headland Park, Georges Heights – the first time the tank had been used for cultural purposes – on land believed to be part of the original grant to Bungaree’s Farm.

The project, which will tour nationally and internationally, will be a feature of the 2015 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and is currently being sought by other national institutions, including potential future exhibitions in China and Japan.

“Mosman Council is delighted and honoured that its Gallery has been awarded both the Indigenous Project Award and the overall National Winner Award at the 2015 Museums and Galleries National Awards (MAGNAs) for its Bungaree’s Farm project,” Mosman Mayor Cr Peter Abelson said.

“The overall national award represents the highest honour that can be given to a museum or Gallery in Australia and it has been earned through the creativity and hard work of the Gallery staff and our exhibition partners.

“Bungaree’s Farm is the culmination of a long-term commitment by Council to explore and honour our Aboriginal heritage. The story of Bungaree is a key part of this heritage and the project was commissioned to officially mark the 200th anniversary of the establishment of Bungaree’s Farm at Mosman.”

Gallery Director John Cheeseman said the exhibition, which involved work from 18 Indigenous artists presented on large scale projections and via digital, 2D, performance and installation, had been a transformative project for the Gallery.

“This award gives recognition to a powerful and complex series of works which we trust will provide a lasting legacy in influencing and extending contemporary Aboriginal arts practices in Australia,” he said. “We are honoured to be given this award and I am humbled to receive it on behalf of the curator, Djon Mundine, as well as the project’s artists, supporters and gallery staff.”

Mosman Art Gallery partnered with local, state and federal organisations and groups, including Mosman Reconciliation, Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, National Parks and Wildlife Services and Arts NSW, to produce the exhibition.