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Significant Indigenous art collection gifted to Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) that will transform the organisation’s future

A historic moment for the Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) took place recently when arts patrons Carrillo Gantner AC and his wife Ziyin Gantner formalised their gift of Indigenous artwork to enhance the museum’s existing collection.

With the Grand Opening of SAM planned for October, the Gantner Collection will feature in its inaugural exhibition program, with more than 90 works on display for the community to enjoy.

“The Gantner’s generosity will shape the future of arts and culture in Shepparton for generations to come,” Greater Shepparton City Council (GSCC) Mayor Kim O’Keeffe said.

“It is gifts such as this that add significant value to our community and will ensure the new SAM thrives.”

“The new purpose-built museum and state-of-the-art facilities are set to attract visitors to the region each year. SAM’s highly skilled and qualified team will ensure that this generous gift of art remains well cared for.”

The deed of gift was officially signed and sealed by GSCC on Tuesday the 16th of March.

Ownership of previously gifted artwork from the Gantner’s to GSCC formed part of this deed of gift, (transferring ownership of these works to SAM) ensuring that the works would remain together.

Mr Gantner’s recent gift builds on his significant contribution made to SAM in 2013. “I am delighted to see this deed of gift signed and confirm the gifting process that has been occurring for a number of years now, it is very exciting that we will soon see the works in the new SAM building.”

SAM Limited Chair Stephen Merrylees described the gift as one of the largest donations of Indigenous artwork to be gifted to a regional museum.

“We are thrilled to become the caretakers of these treasured works,” Mr Merrylees said.

“This phenomenal gift will enrich SAM’s continued focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art.”

The Gantner’s donated collection is valued at more than $3 million.

Comprising of 341 artworks, including many well-known artists and works relating to the Shepparton area, including work by renowned Yorta Yorta artist Lin Onus.

Featuring 84 female and 90 male artists. A large portion of the collection represents artists from the Central and Western desert regions, and many from Arnhem land, Tiwi Islands, the Kimberley and Riverine areas.

The gifting of these works will take place over the duration of the Gantners’ lives, with any ungifted works from this deed also forming a bequest. The pledge of this gift comes as SAM moves into its new purpose-built home on the edge of Victoria Park Lakes, which overlooks the redgum forests.

The donated collection was gifted by Carrillo Gantner and his wife Ziyin Gantner. Mr Gantner is a Victorian cultural leader, philanthropist, passionate art collector and SAM Foundation Board member, as well as an appointed Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for his support of the performing and visual arts.

In coming weeks, the SAM team will begin the enormous undertaking of moving the art collection to the new building and start installing exhibitions. This includes more than 4,000 pieces of valuable artwork.

Pictured Left to Right – Stephen Merrylees (SAM Limited Board – Chair), Kimberley Moulton (SAM Limited Board – Deputy Chair), Carrillo Gantner (Philanthropist and a SAM Foundation Director) and Peter Harriott (Greater Shepparton City Council – CEO)

ENDS

Shepparton Art Museum physically closed, but online exhibitions continue

Moorina Bonini’s, Australian Melting Pot, 2018 is a digital exhibition presented by Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) in partnership Blak Dot Gallery and NETS Victoria. It can be accessed by audiences from anywhere in the world, both near and far, throughout the month of March.

This exhibition can be viewed at www.sheppartonartmuseum.com.au and is on show from the 1-28 March 2021.

This work demonstrates an intentional action undertaken to understand the construct of the Australian identity. Through uncovering, re-learning and mixing together, the perfect identity stew is presented. Simmering idealistic fantasies rise to the top of the pot and the fire that burns under Nonna’s gnocchi pot in addition to cooking the stew, stains the outside surface with black. The same tone that remained after the intentional burning for the desire of regrowth and gain. Jenna Rain Warwick the First Nations Engagement Coordinator at NETS Victoria says: “NETS Victoria is delighted to partner with Blak Dot Gallery to present Moorina Bonini’s work digitally at Shepparton Art Museum. Moorina’s work is a poignant reflection on the tropes of Australian identity and the ways by which the media commodifies this identity. Her work offers an opportunity to interrogate the makings of our Nationhood.”

Belinda Briggs, SAM’s Curator (Indigenous) said, “Australian Melting Pot takes a poignant look at identity in Australia and the many determining factors that shape our perceptions about who we believe we are. Moorina presents her audience with a complex recipe of ingredients including historical events, intergenerational and cultural influences, and environmental factors like societal attitudes and the media. Moorina’s familial and Ancestral ties as a Yorta Yorta woman localise her work in SAM’s regional boundaries and at home on Yorta Yorta Country.”

Moorina Bonini is a proud descendant of the Yorta Yorta Dhulunyagen family clan of Ulupna and the Yorta Yorta and Wurundjeri-Woiwurrung Briggs/McCrae family. Moorina is an artist whose works are informed by her experiences as an Aboriginal and Italian woman. Her practice is driven by a self-reflexive methodology that enables the re-examination of lived experiences that have influenced the construction of her cultural identity. By unsettling the narrative placed upon Aboriginal people as a result of colonisation of Aboriginal Australia, Bonini’s practice is based within Indigenous Knowledge systems and brings this to the fore.

Moorina holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from RMIT University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from the Victorian College of the Arts. Moorina is currently a candidate at Monash University where she is undertaking a Master of Fine Art within the Wominjeka Djeembana Research Lab. Her work has been exhibited at various shows and galleries such as Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Sydney Festival, Blak Dot Gallery, c3 Contemporary Art Space, Centre for Contemporary Photography, KINGS, SEVENTH Gallery, Bus Projects, Koorie Heritage Trust and Brunswick Street Gallery. Moorina has produced and co-curated art and cultural programs across RMIT University and the University of Melbourne. She is a board member of SEVENTH Gallery, where she is currently the First Nations Programming Coordinator.

Australian Melting Pot is a Blak Dot Gallery digital exhibition touring with NETS Victoria. Curated by Kimba Thompson.

This project is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.

Image: Moorina Bonini, Australian Melting Pot 2018, video (still), 4 min 18 sec. Image courtesy of the artist © the artist