11 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2024!

We love a good exhibition, and this year we’re lucky enough to have some pretty spectacular showcases taking place in galleries across Australia.

From contemporary art blockbusters like Triennial at Melbourne’s NGV, to The Biennale of Sydney’s exciting program, here are 11 of the best art exhibitions you should see this year!

Christina Karras

Kaylene Whiskey, Flying to New York, 2022, acrylic on linen, 168 x 198 cm. Photo: David Suyasa. Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

Left: Anne Samat, No Place for Beginners or Sensitive Heart #1 (2021) Rattan sticks, kitchen and garden utensils, beads, ceramic, metal and plastic ornaments, 274.32 x 162.56 x 15.24 cm. Photographer: Ellen Boreum Lee. Courtesy of the artist and Marc Straus, New York. Right: Dylan Mooney, Still Thriving (from the Still Thriving series), 2023. Digital illustration hand-painted with Yuwi ochre. 118.9 x 84.1cm. Image courtesy of the artist and N. Smith Gallery (Sydney)

24th Biennale of Sydney: Ten Thousand Suns
March 9 – June 10 2024

Since its inception in 1973, The Biennale of Sydney has become one of the top biennials in the world. This year, the contemporary art event will draw inspiration from histories of queer resistance and First Nations stories, sharing art from leading local creatives of Tracey Moffatt and Doreen Chapman, in addition to an impressively long list of international artists.

The cultural extravaganza is free and will take over six iconic locations, with a display on the sails of the Sydney Opera House and inside the heritage-listed White Bay Power Station — which is opening its doors for the first time in more than a century!

Left: Installation view of Shelia Hicks’ work Nowhere to go on display as part of NGV Triennial from 3 December 2023 – 7 April 2024 at NGV International, Melbourne. Photo: Sean Fennessy. Right: Installation view of David Shrigley’s work Really Good on display in NGV Triennial from 3 December 2023 – 7 April 2024 at NGV International, Melbourne. Photo: Sean Fennessy

Left: Installation view of Mun-dirra a collaborative work by artists from the Maningrida Arts Centre work on display in NGV Triennial from 3 December 2023 – 7 April 2024 at NGV International, Melbourne. Photo: Sean Fennessy. Right: Installation view of Azuma Makoto’s work on display in NGV Triennial from 3 December 2023 – 7 April 2024 at NGV International, Melbourne. Photo: Sean Fennessy

NGV Triennial 2023
On now, until April 7 2024

National Gallery of Victoria

The National Gallery of Victoria’s Triennial is always iconic. People still talk about the immersive and boundary-pushing installations from past editions (remember the Yayoi Kusama flower room?) and this year’s exhibition features more than 120 contemporary artists, architects, designers, and collectives from around the world.

Where else can you see works by Yoko Ono, Tracey Emin, David Shrigley, Tyler Mitchell, and Maison Schiaparelli in one place? During summer, you can even explore the gallery until 11pm for their after-hours program of DJ sets, talks, and performances. But the best part is, it’s all free to attend!

Left: Emily Kam Kngwarray, Anmatyerr people, Alhalker Country, 1994, Private collection, Naarm/Narrm/Melbourne © Emily Kam Kngwarray/Copyright Agency, 2023. Image courtesy of Deutscher and Hackett. Right: Installation view, Emily Kam Kngwarray, National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, 2023. Photo by: Jed Cooper

Emily Kam Kngwarray, Anmatyerr people, Yam awely, 1995, National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, gift of the Delmore Collection, Donald and Janet Holt 1995 © Emily Kam Kngwarray/Copyright Agency

Emily Kam Ngwarray
On now, until April 28 2024
National Gallery of Australia

In case you missed the opening last year, there’s still time to see the National Gallery of Australia’s spectacular survey exhibition on Anmatyerr artist Emily Kam Ngwarray. It wasn’t until the last decade of her life that Emily began painting, but today, she’s known as one of the most significant contemporary artists of the 20th century.

Learn about her legacy, culture, and community as you wander through the epic showcase.

Left: ‘Ronni Kahn AO (founder of OZHarvest)’ by Marie Mansfield. Photo – Jenni Carter for AGNSW. Right: Winner Archibald Prize 2023, Julia Gutman ‘Head in the sky, feet on the ground’, oil, found textiles and embroidery on canvas, 198 x 213.6 cm © the artist, image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Jenni Carter

Left: ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name (collaboration with Maella Santiago, Santi Mateo Santiago and Sarita Santiago)’ by Marikit Santiago. Photo – Jenni Carter for AGNSW. Right: ‘Christopher Bassi’ by David Fenoglio. Photo – Jenni Carter for AGNSW

The Archibald Prize 2024
June 8 – September 8 2024
Art Gallery of New South Wales

Every year we look forward to Australia’s oldest portrait award, the Archibald Prize. After hundreds of entries by some of Australia’s best emerging and established artists are whittled down to a shortlist, AGNSW reveals the best ones in an exhibition full of famous faces, local heroes, and important figures! The winning artist takes home $100,000, but The Packing Room Prize (as awarded by the gallery staff who receive, unpack and hang the entries) is also highly anticipated.

Left: Seth Birchall, born 1979. A Moon Under Water 2023, oil on canvas, 183 x 153 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf. Photo: Jessica Maurer. Right: Heather B.Swann, born Hobart 1961. Place for Sea Dreamers 2022, painted forged steel, 200 x 600 x 90 cm. Collaboration with Nonda Katsalidis for the 2022 Setouchi Triennale. Courtesy of the artist and Station Gallery. Photo: Keizo Kioku

Right: Tina Stefanou, born 1984. Hym(e)nals 2022, four-channel video projection from performance documentation, quadraphonic sound. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Wil Normyle.
Left: Photo courtesy Art Gallery of South Australia

18th Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Inner Sanctum
March 1 – June 2 2024
Art Gallery of South Australia

As part of the Adelaide Festival, this year’s Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art is diving into one of life’s most complex topics: the human condition. Curated by José Da Silva, the showcase unfolds across exhibitions, performances and talks that focus on our internal worlds — considering how art can help us better understand society, and each other.

Left: Galiku, by Dhopiya Yunupiŋu. Right: Dust Storm, by Rachael Lionel.

New Days, Ntaria, by Joanne Napangardi Wheeler.

Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA)
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
June 22 2024 – January 2025

The Telstra NATSIAAs are Australia’s richest art awards, which were originally founded in 1984. Held at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, it’s also one of Darwin’s biggest annual events, drawing visitors to Larrakia Country for an inspiring celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from all over the country.

Plan a trip for August to be there when the prestigious event dishes out an impressive $190,000 in total prize money and explore an exhibition of the winning artworks.

Photo: Courtesy of THE LUME Melbourne

Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years Of Genius
From March 16 2024

If you haven’t been to THE LUME yet, the digital art gallery’s next experience is going to be an epic spectacle. Dedicated to exploring his life’s work, Leonardo da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius will bring masterpieces like the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper to life as sweeping projections across the 3000 square metre space!

Left: Vincent Namatjira, Western Aranda people, Displaced 2021, National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, purchased in celebration of the National Gallery of Australia’s 40th anniversary, 2022 © Vincent Namatjira/Copyright Agency. Right: Vincent Namatjira at Iwantja Arts, 2023, Photo: Rohan Thomson

Vincent Namatjira, Western Aranda people, Northern Territory, born Mparntwe (Alice Springs), Northern Territory 1983. Albert Namatjira, Slim Dusty and Archie Roach on Country. 2022, Indulkana, Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, South Australia, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 67.0 x 198.0 cm. Prudence Lee Bequest Fund 2023, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide © Vincent Namatjira

Vincent Namatjira: Australia in Colour
March 2 – July 21 2024
National Gallery of Australia

Vincent Namatjira is one of Australia’s most exciting artists, famous for his paintings that capture a satirical look at the politics of history, power, and leadership from a contemporary Aboriginal perspective.

Now the travelling survey exhibition, Vincent Namatjira: Australia in Colour is heading to Canberra. See his award-winning portraits (often featuring Vincent himself beside beloved heroes like Adam Goodes, or infamous leaders like Donald Trump), and a special selection of works by the artist’s great-grandfather, acclaimed Western Arranda artist Albert Namatjira.

Right: Rithika Merchant / India b.1986 / Temporal Structures 2023 / Gouache, watercolour and ink on paper / 105 x 150cm / Photo: Courtesy the artist and TARQ, Mumbai / © Rithika Merchant. Left: Dana Awartani / Saudi Arabia/Palestine b.1987 / Installation view of Standing by the Ruins 2019, Rabat Biennale, Morocco 2019 / Courtesy: The artist / © Dana Awartani

The 11th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT11)
November 30 2024 – April 27 2025
Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art

Brisbane’s riverside gallery QAGOMA is set to host The 11th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in November. The flagship exhibition is all about reflecting the region’s social and cultural diversity, revealing 70 projects by more than 200 creatives from throughout Australia, Asia, and the Pacific.

With live performances, public discussions, cinema programs and projects for young visitors to enjoy, it’s well worth the visit to the Sunshine State.

Right: Plaque of Amenemhat IV Probably Byblos, Lebanon 12th Dynasty, reign of Amenemhat IV, about 1808- 1799 BC Gold. Centre: Statue of Ramses II as a high-priest Abydos, Egypt 19th Dynasty, reign of Ramses II, about 1279-1213 BC Limestone. Centre left: Head of colossal statue, probably of Amenemhat III Bubastis, Egypt 12th Dynasty, reign of Amenemhat III, about 1854-1808 BC Granodiorite. Left: Girdle with amulets, beads and pendants. Perhaps from Thebes, Egypt 12th Dynasty, about 1985-1795 BC Electrum, silver, lapis lazuli, feldspar, amethyst, cornelian and glass. Amulets in the shape of a fish Provenance unknown Middle Kingdom, about 2040-1650 BC Gold, quartz, chalcedony and rock crystal © The Trustees of the British Museum

Melbourne Winter Masterpieces 2024: Pharaoh
June 14 – October 6 2024
National Gallery of Victoria

This internationally-exclusive blockbuster showcase celebrates 3000 years of ancient Egyptian art and culture.

More than 500 works will travel to Melbourne from the British Museum, including monumental sculpture, tomb and temple architecture, coffins, and works commissioned by famous kings and queens, including Tutankhamun. Whether you’re a fan of mythology, history, or just love art, the fascinating exhibition is something to look forward to when Melbourne winter kicks in.

Right: Cressida Campbell, Still life with Ukiyo-e print 2008. Image courtesy of Cressida Campbell and Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane. Left: Katsushika Hokusai, Poem by Tenchi Tennō (c. 1835–36) colour woodblock, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Felton Bequest, 1909


Left: Margaret Preston. Begonia c. 1935, woodcut, printed in black ink on thin ivory laid Japanese paper; unknown edition, hand coloured. Art Gallery of New South Wales. Purchased 1964. Right: Margaret Preston. Fuchsia and balsam 1928, hand-coloured woodcut. Geelong Gallery. Purchased 1982. © Margaret Preston/Copyright Agency

Cutting Through Time
May 18 – July 28 2024
Geelong Gallery

This exhibition exploring the beautiful art of printmaking explores the influence of Japanese woodblock prints (known as Ukiyo-e) on two of Australia’s most significant female artists: Cressida Campbell and Margaret Preston.

See a selection of prized Japanese Ukiyo-e prints from the late 18th to mid-19th centuries alongside Cressida and Margaret’s intricate works, on show only at Victoria’s Geelong Gallery.

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