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Two first Nations Curators from MCA Australia chosen for Venice Biennale

Two first Nations Curators from MCA Australia chosen for Venice Biennale

Two First Nations Curators chosen for Venice Biennale as part of Australia Council's Professional Development Program.

Two curators from the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) will head to the 57th Venice Biennale (13 May to 26 Novembr 2017) as part of the Australla Council for the Art's Professional Development Program for First Nations Curators. The MCA is the only cultural institution with more than one First Nations Curator participating in this program.

Clothilde Bullen (Curator, Aboriginal & Torres Straight Islander Collections & Exhibitions) and Emily McDaniel (Acting Curator, Aboriginal & Torres Straight Island Programs), are part of Australia's presence at the Venice Biennale as First Nations Senior and Emerging Curators respectively.

Clothilde Bullen said: ‘To be able to show leadership in the Indigenous visual arts area, and to align this with the MCA’s values around supporting the professional development
of Indigenous staff is a privilege. On this unique occasion, embedded round the opening of My Horizon by Tracey Moffat, it is critical to have Indigenous arts workers participate fully in the experience.’

MCA Director, Elizabeth Ann Ann Macgregor OBE said: ‘It is especially fitting this year when the Australian Pavilion is devoted to a solo presentation by an Aboriginal artist for the first time. The MCA undertook the biggest survey of Tracey Moffatt’s work in 2003. I would like to thank the Australia Council for their support for this important initiative.’

Clothilde Bullen and Emily McDaniel make significant contributions to MCA’s exhibitions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island artists, and the extension of this through our public programs. We wish both curators well at the 57th Venice Biennale, in what will not only become valuable professional experience but will also help tell the story of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art to audiences and our peers abroad,’ Macgregor added.

Emily McDaniel said: ‘This will be the first time I have travelled to Europe, I am honoured to share this experience alongside so many accomplished First Nations curators that I have admired for many years. I hope this experience will broaden my awareness of international audiences for Indigenous art.’

For over 20 years, the Australia Council, through the Venice Biennale Professional Development Program, has supported over 150 volunteer arts workers to attend and work at the Venice Biennale.

At Venice, Bullen and McDaniel will network and connect with international peers, artists and organisations with a view to creating international networks and promoting contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. There are also opportunities for emerging curators to receive mentoring and professional development support from the senior curators in attendance.

Clothilde Bullen is a Wardandi (Nyoongar)/Yamatji woman from Perth, Western Australia.
She has an extensive career in visual arts including curating a number of exhibitions and
publishing extensively on Aboriginal art. She was the former Curator of Indigenous Art
at the Art Gallery of Western Australia for over a decade.
Bullen joined the MCA in January 2017 as Curator, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander
Collections & Exhibitions. She is currently working on a new presentation of the MCA’s
Artist Room in the Collection Galleries. The Artist Room exhibition to be unveiled in
late May will feature works by central Arnhem Land artist Lena Yarinkura. The room will
highlight the depths of the Museum’s holdings of Yarinkura’s work.

Emily McDaniel is an independent curator, writer and educator from the Kalari Clan of
the Wiradjuri nation in central New South Wales. She has curated many exhibitions and
the first public art commission for the Barangaroo precinct in 2015. Formerly, she was
the Assistant Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of
New South Wales and Aboriginal Emerging Curator for the 18th Biennale of Sydney.
McDaniel has worked at the MCA since 2009. In her role McDaniel has further developed
the MCA’s cultural learning framework, programs and resources relating to Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander artists included in the MCA Collection and exhibition program.
McDaniel is currently contributing to MCA’s public programs including: Conversation
Starters: A new program of art and ideas on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 June; and NAIDOC
Week (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) between 2 – 9 July.

Claire Johnson / Myriam Conrie
T 02 9245 2417 / 2434
M 0429 572 869