Media releases

World premiere of Reko Rennie commission What Do We Want? to open at ACMI

24 March 2022

World premiere of Reko Rennie commission What Do We Want? to open at ACMI 1 April 2022

Call for applications announced for next ACMI x Artbank Commission

ACMI and Artbank are proud to present the second ACMI x Artbank Commission with the world premiere of Reko Rennie’s action-packed three-channel video work What Do We Want?, showing in ACMI’s largest gallery space from 1 April to 1 May 2022.

This free exhibition coincides with a call for entries for the third and final ACMI x Artbank Commission series, which opens for applications on 1 April 2022.

With the commission awarded in 2019 to Melbourne-based Kamilaroi artist Reko Rennie, this highly anticipated three-channel video work expands his evolving moving image practice into the realm of performance and is shaped by the artist’s own 25-year history of martial arts practice.

Using his art to provoke discussion surrounding Indigenous culture and identity in contemporary urban environments, What Do We Want? features an all-Indigenous cast – led by their Sensei (played by Yorta Yorta rapper Briggs) – reflecting the broad diversity within contemporary Indigenous urban society.

Inspired by martial arts films including Blaxploitation movies from the 1970s, the work loudly and proudly conveys the diversity of First Nations peoples, and the ongoing fight for justice that unifies them. In a martial arts dojo, the Sensei asks in a call - “What Do We Want?” The response “Land Back! Sovereignty! Freedom!” rings out, vocalising demands of environmental, political, and social concern affecting Indigenous people.

Artist Reko Rennie said: “I’m very excited and honoured to be offered this award by Artbank + ACMI to make my new video work, What Do We Want?. This commission is an amazing opportunity to create a new work that I’ve wanted to make for some time, and I look forward to sharing it with you.”

ACMI Director and CEO Katrina Sedgwick said: “We are proud to be presenting this stunning work by Reko Rennie here at ACMI, as part of our partnership with Artbank in this important series of commissions. These kinds of interventions give artists an opportunity to extend their practice and creative ambitious screen works exploring the intersection between art and the moving image.”

Artbank CEO Zoë Rodriguez said: “Reko Rennie is one of Australia’s most exciting Australian artists documenting stories of contemporary urban Indigeneity. Artbank is so proud to, along with ACMI, support Reko Rennie to bring these unique Australian stories to film.”

“Artbank has a long history of supporting moving image works as an evolving and dynamic component of Australian contemporary art, and boasts one of the largest Australian moving image collections in the world. We are always pleased to be supporting living Australian artists and living up to our two core policy objectives: money in the pockets of artists, and creating broad public access to excellent Australian contemporary art.”

ACMI x Artbank Commission – call for applications

From 1 April 2022, artists and filmmakers are invited to submit applications for the ACMI x Artbank Commission, which supports Australian artists and filmmakers to make an ambitious and experimental screen-based work and explore new forms and methodologies in their practice. The successful artist or filmmaker will be awarded $70,000 to make a new work for exhibition at ACMI with the work entering the Artbank and ACMI collections.

Targeting the intersection of art and film, the ACMI x Artbank Commission is designed to engage with cinema, experimental film, artists’ film and the avant-garde to create ambitious, experimental works which can find a home on the cinema screen or in a gallery space.

Further details and how to apply for the ACMI x Artbank commission can be found here.

Reko Rennie: What Do We Want? will show in ACMI’s Gallery 4 from 1 April –1 May 2022. For further details visit

Reko Rennie: What Do We Want?

What Do We Want? From left to Right: Kelvin Onus King, Mila Rennie Galvin, Caine Muir, Reko Rennie. Image credit: Ellery Ryan


Reko Rennie is an interdisciplinary artist who explores his Aboriginal identity through contemporary media. Through his art, Rennie provokes discussion surrounding Indigenous culture and identity in contemporary urban environments. Largely autobiographical, his commanding works combine the iconography of his Kamilaroi heritage with stylistic elements of graffiti, merging traditional diamond-shaped designs, hand-drawn symbols and repetitive patterning to subvert romantic ideologies of Aboriginal identity.

ACMI is Australia’s national museum of screen culture. The museum reopened in February after a two-year, $40 million redevelopment – an architectural, programmatic and technological transformation. Navigate the universe of film, TV, videogames and art with us. ACMI celebrates the wonder and power of the world’s most democratic artform – fostering the next generation of makers, players and watchers. ACMI’s vibrant calendar of exhibitions, screenings, commissions, festivals, and industry and education programs explore the stories, technologies and artists that create our shared screen culture. More at


Established in 1980, Artbank’s two core objectives are to support Australian contemporary artists through the acquisition of their work and to promote the value of Australian contemporary art to the broader public. The Artbank collection is comprised of approximately 11,000 works by over 3,500 artists, across media, and includes some of the best examples of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia art produced over the last four decades. Artbank makes this work accessible through an art leasing program which is accessed by corporate, private and government clients nationally and internationally. More at


Frances Mariani
Head of Communications
T: 0416 069 778