Ngullar kaditj nidja Curtin mia mia Whadjuk Noongar boodjar kurayeye boorda.

The John Curtin Gallery acknowledges this place called Curtin is situated on Whadjuk Noongar lands.

We recognise the Whadjuk Noongar people as the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past and present who have continued their cultural and spiritual connections to country for the benefit of all.

Despite ongoing challenges from COVID 19 through the early part of the year, including delays brought on by closed borders, quarantine rules and shifting capacity limits, 2022 proved to be a successful showcase year of international, national and local artists of excellence.


PERTH FESTIVAL 25 February – 8 May 2022

2022 marked the 25th Anniversary of the John Curtin Gallery’s relationship with the Perth Festival. Since first collaborating with the Perth Festival in 1998 JCG has hosted some of the world’s best visual artists including Ragnar Kjartansson, John Akomfrah, Lisa Reihana, and U-Ram Choe.

This year we were proud to host acclaimed British filmmaker and installation artist, Isaac Julien.

Julien’s film installations and photographs incorporate different artistic disciplines to create a poetic and unique visual language. Featured in this groundbreaking exhibition were two seminal works: 10,000 Waves and the Australian premiere of Lessons of the Hour.

Some comments from our visitors:

“Incredible work and I appreciated not being over-monitored by guards; calm and attentive staff supported a positive experience thank you.”

“I have already recommended this excellent exhibition to friends and colleagues.”

“The reception staff are lovely and welcoming.”

“Loved it.”

Julie Dowling: Bidya Gurlbarl (Open Secret)  11 Feb – 20 March 2022

Julie Dowling, Tuppence (my great-grandmother), 2005, Acrylic, red ochre and plastic on canvas, 80 x 49.8cm. Image courtesy of the artist.

In Bunuru the Gallery also celebrated the powerful pictorial critiques of Badima (Yamatji) First Nation artist Julie Dowling with 15 artworks that highlighted the existence and legacy of enslaving Aboriginal people in Australia.

Although Aboriginal people may no longer be possessed and traded, Dowling comments on the legacy of how Aboriginal people were posed as ethnographic exhibits on postcards in the 19th and 20th century. 

Carrolup coolingah wirn

Carrolup Coolingah Wirn’, an exhibition which was officially opened in November 2021, reopened to visitors in February 2022.

Curated by Michelle Broun, the Curator of Australian First Nations Art at the John Curtin Gallery, the exhibition features works from the Herbert Mayer Collection of Carrolup Artworks created by children of the stolen generations and now part of the Curtin University Art Collection.

Ms Broun said the exhibition is one of many about the Carrolup collection and the child artists at the centre of the story, and is built upon decades of research and documentation across institutions which has been enhanced and enriched by community engagement programs.

“Carrolup Coolingah Wirn contextualises the story in relation to the development of a permanent home for the Carrolup works – a truth -telling centre which is planned to open at John Curtin Gallery towards the end of 2023.”

ENERGAIA: Imagining Energy Futures, 28 March – 8 May 2022

In March John Curtin Gallery presented Energaia, an exhibition of multi-disciplinary work from visual artists, filmmakers, designers and writers engaging with low carbon energy futures.

Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop, 3 June to 28 August 2022.

As the Western Australian borders re-opened and travel restrictions relaxed somewhat, we moved into Djeran Season with confidence, opening Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop by Australian Chinese Artist Lindy Lee. Curated by former MCA Director Elizabeth Ann MacGregor and Associate Curator Megan Robson, the exhibition was an other-worldly, zen-like experience of stillness and calm in nature. 

John Curtin Gallery Director, Chris Malcolm, said Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop was an exhibition of over 30 exceptional artworks from across four decades of the artist’s career.

“We are very fortunate that it has made its way over here so that Perth audiences have the opportunity to be immersed in this wonderful set of works that embody the breadth of Lindy Lee’s art practice as it has evolved over the past four decades. We are also very proud to be working with the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney to present this exhibition of one of Australia’s most significant contemporary artists. Working with such an esteemed artist and partners at this level of excellence, we feel very privileged to be able to share this exhibition and have precious time with the artist for a recorded series of talks.”

This exhibition is curated by former MCA Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, supported by Associate Curator, Megan Robson and will introduce audiences to key works from across the artist’s extensive career, from early photocopy artworks to recent installations and sculptures.

Exhibition organised and toured by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Project assisted by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia program.

Some comments from our visitors:

“It gave us goosebumps! What an amazing exhibition!”

“Humbling and thought-provoking.”

“A perfect space for an exhibition that demands clarity of mind and Zen. Great curation.”

“Such a breath-taking exhibition. The bronze pieces especially were so compelling. Took my breath away as soon as I entered the room. Thank you.”

“She expresses herself so beautifully. It was a real pleasure, and the flung bronzes were exquisite.”

Soft/Hard: radical love by R. Goo , 3 June to 28 August 2022.

Offering an insight into personal and political struggles for LGBTQIA+ liberation, Soft/Hard: radical love by R. Goo brought together over 40 works from the Curtin University Art Collection, from some of the earliest acquisitions to recent works, many of which have never been seen before.

Capturing the main Atrium wall with a vibrant bubble of pink paint, the exhibition lead viewers through a dynamic hang of works that ranged from monumental drawings and breathtaking paintings to contemporary photography, jewellery, textiles, video, artist books and prints. This diverse exhibition included emerging artists alongside significant Australian and international artists, including Olga Cironis, Theo Costantino, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Richard Larter, Laurel Nannup, Sidney Nolan, Lisa Reihana, Joan Ross, Christian Thompson, and Aida Tomescu.

Curated by the late multidisciplinary trans artist, Bec O’Neil who worked under the pseudonym ‘R. Goo’, the exhibition responded to the theme of ‘Queering the Gallery’. Bec’s art practice explored trauma, queerness, alternate histories and futures and these themes are similarly drawn out in his curatorial approach to the exhibition.

Tracing the art of a Stolen Generation: the child artists of Carrolup


One of our proudest achievements in 2022 year was taking the Carrolup artworks to the United Kingdom. The exhibition was aimed primarily at sharing the story of the Carrolup child artists and in the process contribute to the cultural exchange between Australia and the United Kingdom, while possibly uncovering forgotten Carrolup artworks located in the UK.

This story of the Stolen Generation in Western Australia is told through stunning landscape artworks by Aboriginal child artists interned at the Carrolup Native Settlement in the 1940s as part of Western Australia’s racist government policies of segregation, assimilation and forced removal. The recovered artworks represent a small proportion of the hundreds of Carrolup works sold in the 1950s and toured throughout the UK at the time by Mrs Florence Rutter, Founding President of the London Soroptimist Club.

Presented as part of the UK Australia Season of Culture, Tracing the art of a Stolen Generation: the child artists of Carrolup, toured The Portico Library, Manchester from July to September 2022, and to the University of Glasgow Memorial Chapel from October to November 2022.

John Stringer Prize 2022, 7 October to 4 December 2022

In October artist Jacky Cheng was announced as the winner of the John Stringer Prize 2022 for her installation artwork …that awaits at the end of life, a series of woven textiles combining papers and fibres that map esoteric and social relationships of their origins and newfound home.

In 2022, six artists were commissioned to create work by a panel of judges consisting of Sarah Wall, Jane Chambers and Helen Carroll. The finalists were Amanda Bell, Bruno Booth, Jacky Cheng, Guy Louden, Katie West and Holly Yoshida. This year’s John Stringer Prize also showed the late Mrs. Janet Dreamer’s work Walkabout, as a tribute to the leading artist and matriarch of the Halls Creek arts community, Yarliyil Arts.

John Curtin Gallery Acting Director, Jane King, said, “The John Stringer Prize acknowledges and celebrates artists currently making a major impact on the Western Australian art scene. In partnership with the Collectors Club of Western Australia, the John Curtin Gallery is committed to exhibiting diverse and unique artistic practices from significant emerging and mid-career artists”.


In celebration of the John Curtin Gallery’s 25 year partnership with the Perth Festival, However vast the darkness… assembles a compelling group of works in deep reflection, as well as cogent protest, of the inequalities suffered by peoples across the globe.

Bow Echo, 2019, is an award-winning project by Afghani artist Aziz Hazara that confronts us with a harrowing vision of young Afghan boys, precariously perched on a mountain top, storm swept, desperately struggling to announce the urgency of their community’s plight against repression amidst the cultural desolation of war torn Afghanistan.

Aotearoa/New Zealand artist Lisa Reihana returns to the John Curtin Gallery with her stunning in Pursuit of Venus [infected], the globally-acclaimed masterpiece from the 2017 Venice Biennale. After showing this monumental work for the Perth Festival in 2018, in honour of our Festival partnership we have selected to reprise this work to allow many who missed the opportunity to experience one of the world’s greatest artworks from the past 25 years.

OCCURRENT AFFAIR is a major exhibition featuring new and recent works by Brisbane-based Aboriginal artist collective proppaNOW. Established in 2003, proppaNOW is one of Australia’s leading cultural collectives, exploring the politics of Aboriginal art and culture, and provoking, subverting and re-thinking what it means to be a ‘contemporary Aboriginal artist’. Conceived as a collaborative activist gesture, OCCURRENT AFFAIR will address current socio-political, economic and environmental issues, while celebrating the strength, resilience and continuity of Aboriginal culture.