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The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) launches its 2020 program with a thematic exhibition on the centrality of water to human life globally, and major solo exhibitions celebrating contemporary artists Mavis Ngallametta, Chiharu Shiota, Gordon Bennett and William Yang.

QAGOMA Director Chris Saines said the Gallery’s major summer exhibition Water would feature leading international and Australian artists exploring the cultural, ecological and political dimensions of water, opening from 7 December until 26 April, 2020.

‘Following Water we will present major solo exhibitions of the work of Japanese-born, Berlin-based artist Chiharu Shiota (b.1972), and Australian artists Mavis Ngallametta (1944–2019), Gordon Bennett (1955–2014) and William Yang (b.1943),’ Mr Saines said.

From 21 March to 2 August, Mavis Ngallametta: Show Me the Way to Go Home will be the first major survey of the artist’s work. It’s a celebration of Mrs Ngallametta’s art and life and it will feature many large-scale paintings of her country in and around Aurukun in Far North Queensland.

‘An elder of the Putch clan and a cultural leader of the Wik and Kugu people of Aurukun, Mrs Ngallametta was one of the most well regarded senior community-based artists in Australia. She made a profound contribution to arts and culture nationally before her passing in 2019,' Mr Saines said.

From 27 June to 5 October, GOMA is the exclusive Australian venue for Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles, a touring exhibition from Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum that highlights twenty five years of Shiota’s practice across large-scale installation, sculpture, video performance, photography and drawing.

‘Shiota is known internationally for her transformative installations constructed from millions of fine threads and works that express the intangible: memories, anxiety, dreams and silence. The Soul Trembles is the largest solo exhibition of Shiota’s work to date,’ Mr Saines said.

From 27 June to 5 October Unfinished Business: The Art of Gordon Bennett, will explore the late Queensland-born artist’s interdisciplinary practice from his art school years in the late 1980s through to his untimely death in 2014.

‘With rarely and never-before-seen paintings, installations and drawings, Unfinished Business will highlight Bennett’s passionate, ongoing interrogation of society and the impact of history and world views on the way individuals and cultures are understood. Additionally the exhibition will shed light on the importance of drawing as part of Bennett’s creative process.

‘We are thrilled to be working closely with the artist’s estate and many collections on an exhibition that will give fresh insight into Gordon Bennett’s ideals and objectives, while amplifying his significant contribution to Australian art,’ Mr Saines said.

Equally, we are excited to present a major survey exhibition on the work of leading Australian photographer and performance artist William Yang from 19 September 2020 to 7 February 2021.

Queensland-born, Sydney-based Yang is known for his raw and joyous depictions of Australia’s gay and lesbian scene in the 1970s and 80s. His documentary photography and performance across five decades has been informed by the cultural and political pressures of growing up as a gay man from a Chinese immigrant family in north Queensland.

‘The exhibition at QAG will trace Yang’s career through an expansive presentation of his photographic work, along with select video works and a newly commissioned spoken word performance,’ Mr Saines said.

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