Freja Carmichael has been announced as the inaugural recipient of the Macquarie Group First Nations Emerging Curator Award.
The award was announced at a special ceremony in Sydney at Macquarie Group’s global headquarters, attended by more than 100 guests.
The award is offered under a new partnership between Macquarie Group and the Australia Council for the Arts to support an inspirational First Nations emerging visual arts curator in their professional development and practice.
A Ngugi woman, belonging to the Quandamooka People of Moreton Bay, Ms Carmichael has worked broadly across the Indigenous visual arts sector. In 2014, she received the Australia Council’s emerging curatorial fellowship. Since then, she has curated and co-curated a number of exhibitions including the major exhibition Gathering Strands at Redland Art Gallery in 2016.
Australia Council Executive Director Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts, Lydia Miller, said it was hoped the award would increase the profile of First Nations art, both in Australia and internationally, and highlight the importance of investing in our curators.
“Freja Carmichael has clearly demonstrated her curatorial flair and her passion for Indigenous visual arts. That Ms Carmichael was selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants is testament to the strong success she has already shown as a curator, and a recognition of her potential to develop even further,” Ms Miller said.
As the recipient of the award, Ms Carmichael will receive $15,000 and the opportunity to curate a new exhibition in 2018, as well as undertake invaluable professional development overseas. Ms Carmichael will also have the opportunity to be mentored by the Macquarie Group Collection Director and Curatorial Consultant and a Senior First Nations curator.
The Macquarie Group First Nations Emerging Curator Award was established to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Macquarie Group Collection, and marks the 50th Anniversary year of the 1967 Referendum.
The Australia Council’s partnership with Macquarie Group is part of a broader strategy to encourage arts investment from diverse sources and to leverage its unique position and expertise to benefit Australian artists and audiences.