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Artist praises MAMA’s bold move

A person with long hair reaches out to a large diamond shaped sculpture made from neon
Murray Art Museum Albury

MAMA has been bold in choosing an First Nations art exhibition as its opening show, according to one of Australia's leading Aboriginal artists.

Award-winning Sydney-based Aboriginal artist Jonathan Jones, a member of the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi nations of NSW, said MAMA would 'lead the way' by opening with Wiradjuri Ngurambanggu.

 "In launching this exhibition, MAMA is going to challenge what people think Aboriginal art is."

Jonathan Jones, artist

"It's risky I guess, but it has been very encouraging to see such support for Wiradjuri culture and for the gallery to be working with the local community."

Wiradjuri leader, Darren Wighton also praised the move and said it was important to recognise Aboriginal culture locally.

Jones, who has exhibited internationally was recently commissioned to contribute to a $40m public art project in Sydney, said MAMA was setting the agenda rather than "following the popular idea of what art should be."

"Art t have to be produced elsewhere because we have something really important and special right here in our own backyard," he said.

"Hopefully, a lot of people will come and learn something different or see a different story and connect to it."

Jones, who works across a range of mediums from lighting to printmaking, drawing to sculpture and film, tries to connect people, histories and places through art.

MAMA curator Bianca Acimovic said the opening exhibition would be the epitome of what MAMA would be – "Australian, unique, contemporary, engaging, relevant and exciting"

This project was funded by Australia Council for the Arts and the Gordon Darling Foundation. This project is supported by Arts NSW's Curatorial Support Initiative grant, a devolved funding program administered by Museums & Galleries of NSW on behalf of the NSW Government.

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