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SAM Talks: What’s to come at SAM in 2023?

Talk held: Thursday 8th December 2022.   


SAM CEO Melinda Martin (MM)

SAM Engagement Manager Gabriella Calandro (GC)

SAM Collections Officer Sophie Varapodio (SV)

SAM Public Programs Coordinator Olivia Trenorden (OT)

SAM Ambassador Amber Stephens (AS)


AS: What exhibitions should we expect to see at SAM in 2023?  

MM: We will be showing Ceremony over the Summer period here at SAM. Until late February, SAM will be the only Victorian venue for this very important Indigenous exhibition, touring from the National Gallery of Australia. Exhibiting Ceremony across our two main galleries on level 1 and level 2 will be interesting for SAM – to see how our visitors respond.  

In March, we then move to Dance Me To The End Of Love, which is next year’s major Collection exhibition. It explores the cycle of life, from birth to death. That’s where we’re going to see Sam Jink’s, Mother and Child, which is the epitome of both those moments – a grandmother holding a small bub. This is a much-loved work, but we are also looking at some interesting ephemeral works as well as works that have been part of our ceramics and painting collections. 

We are also working to deliver a collection show for our Children’s Gallery, which will be diving into our collection and creating opportunities for kids to engage with the SAM Collection, which we have never done in this space before. 

AS: By engaging with the Goulburn Valley region, what can SAM offer to local creatives and why are the initiatives being offered so important to this area?  

GC: The idea behind all our programming and events is to develop different ways for the community to come in, experience the space, the ideas and themes that are expressed via the exhibitions, and connect with the SAM Collection. It’s valuable in allowing people to gather, to express culture and experiences together, but also the opportunity to show well-known artists in their hometown, expressing the idea that art isn’t just in certain metropolitan areas. A museum is just a venue to facilitate those conversations and, give people the information and ideas to continue those conversations when they leave SAM. 

OT: What can we expect to see from the SAM Collection in the new year?  

SV: Our largest Collection engagement in 2023 will be exhibition, Dance Me To The End Of Love. There will be around 40 significant works from the SAM Collection, including audience favourites such as Sam Jink’s Woman and Child (2010). Other significant artists in the show include Ramesh Nithiyendran, Penny Byrne, Janet Fieldhouse, and Nell. The show also includes some of our Indigenous ceramic award finalists, as well as works that have never been shown at SAM before – such as works by Katthy Cavaliere.  

MM: Katthy’s work will be especially interesting! The artist was at Carnivale, in Venice, and she collected a whole bunch of ephemera from the celebration, such as confetti, streamers and the like. So, part of the work is this suggestion of sweeping up what is left behind and the conversation that comes about when someone dies. 

OT: SAM recently celebrated its first birthday. Can you share some key learnings that we will be taking with us from our first twelve months?  

MM:  It’s important that we, in our next phase, increase our local engagement. We can’t build on our achievements without the support of our community. We want to be in line at Tinto’s picking up bread and hear people say to friends visiting, “oh, you should go to SAM!” We know that people are coming to Shepparton to visit SAM – so we need to be able to share the love and bring people a sense of community pride when they visit SAM.  

OT: Just to sum all this up, what are you most looking forward to seeing at SAM in the new year?  

MM: I am really looking forward to sharing more of our collection and sharing the stories contained within it, and our collection being a real starting point to spark meaningful conversations, so that we can provide those amazing experiences that, in two years, people remember, reflect on, and inspire people.  

SV: I am looking forward to people coming back to SAM and seeing new things, how the spaces have changed and observing their reactions. As a team in a new space, we have learnt a lot about how people interact with the artworks and move through the space.  

GC: Seeing visitors return is a major one for me. It’s why we’re here – connecting with locals and developing programs that help them see themselves reflected in what we do at SAM. It’s an ongoing journey, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we grow the community experience.

Image: The Unveiling of Sam Jinks’ Woman and Child, 2010, Shepparton Art Museum, 2020.

Voting in the Shepparton Art Museum 2022 ICA People’s Choice Award has closed, with Bankstown Koori Elders Group crowned the winner.

Voting in the Shepparton Art Museum 2022 ICA People’s Choice Award has closed, with Bankstown Koori Elders Group crowned the winner. 

Shepparton Art Museum extends its congratulations to the Bankstown Koori Elders on their success in winning the People’s Choice Award in the 2022 Indigenous Ceramic Award (ICA). The winning artwork, titled Waterhole of Kinship (2020), amassed 20% of the overall votes, submitted by visitors to the exhibition over its duration. The group will share the $1,500 prize. 

The Bankstown Koori Elders Group, consisting of Lorna Morgan (Waka-Waka, Darumbal), Lillian Johnson (Waka-Waka, Gubbi Gubbi), Gloria Peronchik (Waka-Waka, Gangulu), Beverley Gilmartin (Wiradjuri), Victoria Woods (Wiradjuri), Margaret Foat (Buandik), Lola Simmons (Wailwan) and John Simmons, are previous participants in SAM’s ICA. The artist collective received the top acquisitive prize in the 2014 ICA for their work After the Rain, Bungle Bungle.  

Their 2020 work Waterhole of Kinship, a large circular work consisting of a number of individual ceramic tiles pieced together, is reminiscent of the cracked earth found in creek beds during drought. Each tile is decorated with its own unique pattern; the collaborative nature of the work acknowledges how individual experiences and cultural knowledge intermingle, like water flowing through creeks and rivers to form pools of water.  

In their artist statement, the group dedicated the work to new generations of First Nations People in the hope that they will remain connected to Country and carry a deep love and respect for all living things. 

Presented on Yorta Yorta Country, the award provides a national platform to share personal, historical and deep cultural learnings from artists and Country. It celebrates and supports the rich and diverse use of the ceramic medium by Indigenous artists and acknowledges the special industry of ceramic art. The Bankstown Koori Elders Group will join Pitjantjatjara artist Anne Nginyangka Thompson and Gamilaroi artist Sean Miller as prize winners of 2022 ICA, who were awarded the Major Acquisitive Prize and South-East Australian Aboriginal Artist prizes respectively. 

Belinda Briggs, SAM Indigenous Curator, says of the People’s Choice Awards: 

“We hope our visitors and guests enjoyed taking part in the 2022 ICA in this small way and appreciate the time and thought everyone gave. Congratulations to the Bankstown Koori Elders on their beautiful, and somewhat pertinent, work as we all consider the value of water in our lives currently with floods affecting communities throughout the southeast. We also extend our congratulations to all the participating artists for their contributions, and for giving us the privilege to share your stories and showcase your stunning works.” 

The 2022 ICA exhibition closed at SAM on 4 December, however visitors will be able to view the People’s Choice Award winner outside the SAM Café entrance on Level 1 of the museum. The work will be on display throughout January 2023. Copies of the exhibition catalogue with the full list of final works are available at the SAM shop for purchase. 

Full list of 2022 ICA finalists  

Anne Nginyangka Thompson, Pitjantjatjara (SA) – WINNER, Major Acquisitive Prize ($20,000)   

Sean Miller, Gamilaroi (NSW) – WINNER, South-East Australian Aboriginal Artist Award ($5,000) 

Bankstown Koori Elders Group (NSW)  

Lorna Morgan Waka-Waka, Darumbal (QLD), Lillian Johnson Waka-Waka, Gubbi Gubbi (QLD), Gloria Peronchik Waka-Waka Gangulu (QLD), Beverley Gilmartin Wiradjuri (NSW), Victoria Woods Wiradjuri (NSW), Margaret Foat, Buandik (SA), Lola Simmons Wailwan (NSW), John Simmons (NSW) – WINNER, People’s Choice Award ($1,500) 


Alfred Lowe, Arrernte (NT)  

Alison Milyika Carroll, Pitjantjatjara (SA)   

Beth Inkamala Mbitjana, Western Aranda (NT)  

Billy Bain, Darug (NSW)  

Carlene Thompson, Pitjantjatjara (SA)   

Debbie Taylor-Worley, Gamilaraay/Gomeroi (NSW)   

Elisa Jane Carmichael, Ngugi (QLD)  

Elizabeth Dunn, Pitjantjatjara (SA)  

Hayley Coulthard Panangka, Western Aranda (NT)   

Jock Puautjimi, Tiwi (NT)  

Megan Croydon, Kuku Yalanji (QLD)  

Philip Denham, Girramay (QLD)  

Philomena Yeatman, Gunggandji (QLD)  

Rupert Jack, Pitjantjatjara (SA)  

Tjunkaya Tapaya OAM, Pitjantjatjara (SA)   

Vivian Pingkayi Thompson, Pitjantjatjara (SA)  


Highlights of the 2022 ICA 

  • 26 artists exhibited as finalists, plus one feature artist
  • 16 language groups represented
  • Prizes  
  • Major Acquisitive Prize  


  • South-East Australian Aboriginal Artist Prize  


  • People’s Choice Award(winner to be announced upon the closing of the exhibition)


  • Judging panel: Kimberley Moulton (Yorta Yorta), Museums Victoria Senior Curator; Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, leading contemporary artist; Penny Evans (K/Gamilaroi), 2018 ICA finalist



About the Bankstown Koori Elders Group: 

Made up of twelve members of varying language groups, the Bankstown Koori Elders Group was established in 2004 at Condell Park Community Centre in Bankstown, New South Wales. The group is close-knit, with a friendship more akin to a family that supports each other in the process of reconnecting to Country and First Nations identities. The award-winning group exhibits regularly, both nationally and internationally as solo artists and as a collective and have been featured in numerous publications.  

National Gallery of Australia’s 4th Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony opens 17 Dec

National Gallery of Australia’s 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony will open at Shepparton Art Museum on 17 December on its second stop in its nation-wide tour.

Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) is honoured to partner with the National Gallery of Australia to present the 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony as it tours nationally. SAM features as the second host museum scheduled, and the sole Victorian venue on its tour.

Curated by Arrernte and Kalkadoon woman Hetti Perkins, in collaboration with National Gallery curators, the Ceremony touring exhibition showcases 15 new bodies of work by 35 First Nations artists from across the country. Ceremony, the fourth iteration of the National Indigenous Art Triennial since its inception in 2007, centres on the practice and observance of ceremony in First Nations cultures and highlights the central role it plays in the creative practices of many First Nations artists.

Perkins says of the exhibition:

“Ceremony is not a new idea in the context of our unique heritage, but neither is it something that belongs only in the past. In their works, the artists in this exhibition assert the prevalence of ceremony as a forum for artmaking today in First Nations communities.

“In each ceremonial action, artists make an individual mark in our history. Ceremony is the nexus of Country, culture and community, and the 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial is another stitch in a timeless heritage.”

Mapping the breadth of First Nations art practices from the traditional to the contemporary, the expansive exhibition brings together a diverse range of artists working in a variety of art forms including sculpture, painting, ceramics, moving image, photography and more.

SAM’s presentation of the touring exhibition includes works by artists Joel Bray, Kunmanara Carroll, Penny Evans, Nicole Foreshew with Boorljoonngali, Margaret Rarruu Garrawurra and Helen Ganalmirriwuy Garrawurra, Mantua Nangala, S.J Norman, Dylan River, Darrell Sibosado, Andrew Snelgar, James Tylor, Yarrenyty Arltere Artists and Tangentyere Artists, and Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu.

A number of artworks, some site-specific, by Robert Fielding, Robert Andrew, Hayley Millar Baker, Dr Matilda House and Paul Girrawah House are not included in the touring exhibition, though formed an important part of the exhibition when it was displayed in the National Gallery of Australia. Visitors can learn more about these works through exhibition documentation that will be on display.

Melinda Martin, SAM CEO, says of the exhibition:

“We are thrilled to partner with the National Gallery to present such a significant exhibition at our museum, and on the country of the Yorta Yorta People. The show will span two floors of the museum in our main gallery spaces, creating a truly immersive experience.

Ceremony celebrates Indigenous excellence and amplifies First Nations voices and stories. We hope visitors from across the state will join us to experience the powerful works created by some of Australia’s leading First Nations artists. Ceremony will be accompanied by a range of programming, with opportunities to meet artists throughout the course of the exhibition.”

The Triennial is the National Gallery’s flagship exhibition of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. The 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony Touring Exhibition is made possible through the continued generosity of the National Gallery’s Indigenous Arts Partner Wesfarmers Arts and key philanthropic supporters.

On 14 December, the community is invited to attend SAM Talks: Ceremony at the museum for a conversation about the upcoming exhibition, hosted by National Gallery Head of First Nations Engagement Cara Kirkwood, Mandandanji/Mithaka peoples and Curator Peter Johnson. The event will be free and held at 5.30pm at SAM. Bookings can be made via Trybooking:

Further programming and resources for both the public and for educational/learning institutions will be announced soon.

4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony opens at SAM on Saturday 17 December 2022 and will be showing until 26 February 2023 with free entry.

4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony 2022-2024 touring program:

The University of Queensland Art Museum (UQ), QLD
27 August 2022 – 26 November 2022

Shepparton Art Museum, VIC
17 December 2022 – 26 February 2023

Araluen Arts Centre, NT
25 March – 12 June 2023

Samstag Museum of Art, UniSA, SA
Friday 29 September – Friday 8 Dec 2023

Western Plains Cultural Centre, NSW
20 Jan – 12 May 2024

Image: Joel Bray, Wiradjuri people, Giraaru Galing Gaanhagirri (still), 2022, commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra for the 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony, created in consultation with Uncle James Ingram and Wagga Wagga Elders, and with support from City of Melbourne, Phillip Keir and Sarah Benjamin (the Keir Foundation), City of Port Phillip, Create NSW, Blacktown Arts, Arts Centre Melbourne, and Yirramboi Festival 2020, image courtesy and © the artist

New Community Gallery exhibition from local artist Aleisa Miksad is set to open this Friday 2 December 2022.

New Community Gallery exhibition from local artist Aleisa Miksad is set to open this Friday 2 December 2022 in the first SAM Spotlight exhibition to be hosted at new SAM. 

The first SAM Spotlight exhibition to take place at new SAM opens on Friday 2 December, with Kialla-based ceramicist Aleisa Miksad to become the first artist to be featured with her show Between Scylla and Charybdis | Amphora in SAM’s Hugh D.T Williamson Community Gallery.  

Miksad, an emerging ceramic artist, combines contemporary aesthetics with traditional forms. Her work reinterprets the classical ceramics and sculptures of the Ancient Greeks and Etruscans, with her pieces resembling ancient vases encrusted in corals or sea anemones. In Between Scylla and Charybdis | Amphora, Miksad explores the themes of the “femme fatale” and misogyny in Western art and literature by presenting a series of porcelain vessels, each embodying a different female character depicted in Homer’s The Odyssey.  

Designed to showcase the work of early-career artists in the region, SAM Spotlight is a dedicated solo exhibition opportunity, with feature artists identified through an open expression-of-interest process. The successful applicant then works with SAM curators to design and present a show of their recent work, which will be on display in the Community Gallery at SAM for a period of 12 weeks. SAM Spotlight is a commissioned opportunity, with participating artists receiving an artist fee and stipend for artwork production. 

Caroline Esbenshade, SAM Curator – Community, says of the exhibition: 

“In preparing for this show, Aleisa has pushed her practice conceptually and materially by experimenting with scale and narrative to produce the series of ceramic vases that make up Between Scylla and Charybdis | Amphora.  SAM Spotlight is a fantastic opportunity for local artists to expand their practice and exhibit in a major regional art museum. We encourage everyone to come along to the opening on Friday to celebrate the creativity of our community, meet other art-interested locals, and maybe even envision your own work in the space next year!” 

Aleisa Miksad: Between Scylla and Charybdis | Amphora will open on Friday 2 December 2022 and will run until 12 February 2023. The community is invited to the official exhibition opening event, which will include opening remarks from SAM CEO Melinda Martin and SAM Curator – Community Caroline Esbenshade. RSVPs can be made via Trybooking: 

About Aleisa Miksad: 

Aleisa Miksad (b.1980, Mackay QLD) lives in Kialla. She has exhibited with Craft Victoria and was a finalist in the 2022 Lake Art Prize. Between 2018 to 2020 she attended classes with celebrated ceramicist Damon Moon, which has had a lasting influence on her ceramics practice. 

Image: Aleisa Miksad, Circe, 2022 (detail). Courtesy of the artist.