2006 Contemporary Commonwealth was the second major collaborative survey of contemporary art presented by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Federation Square.
When the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the National Gallery of Victoria first collaborated to produce 2004: Australian Culture Now, our intention was to bring to Melbourne a major contemporary art survey of national importance. The result was truly an agenda-setting exhibition — it provoked wide discussion and debate, and focused increased attention on many of Australia’s most interesting contemporary artists.
2006 Contemporary Commonwealth was a very different exhibition, but its ambitions were no less significant. Bringing together twenty-two artists from Australia and countries from across the Commonwealth, it was presented as the flagship exhibition of Festival Melbourne 2006, the cultural program of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. With Federation Square becoming one of the main live sites for the Games, we were especially excited to unite our two venues for one landmark exhibition.
This exhibition took advantage of the opportunities for cultural exchange made possible by a major international sporting event. Just as we consume culture in a global arena, artists increasingly respond to issues and images beyond their national boundaries. With contributors from as far afield as Ghana and Pakistan, 2006 Contemporary Commonwealth used the occasion of the Commonwealth Games to investigate these international networks and connections.
We would like to thank the curators from ACMI and NGV who have brought together this extraordinary exhibition, and acknowledge the dedication of all of our staff who have helped deliver another major collaborative project.
This exhibition was made possible thanks to the support of the Office of Commonwealth Games Coordination for Festival Melbourne 2006, funded by both the Victorian and Federal governments.
24 February – 15 May 2006