28 July – 10 November 2018

“We defy: By existing; By determining our identity; By asserting our histories; our culture; our language; By telling our stories, our way; By being one of the oldest continuous living cultures in the world."

Tina Baum, NGA Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art 

Bringing together works by 30 contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across the country, Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum that recognised Aboriginal people as Australians for the first time. It highlights the strength and resilience of Australia’s Indigenous people since first contact, through to the historical fight for recognition and ongoing activism in the present day. 

Issues of identity, racism, displacement, Country, nuclear testing, sovereignty and the Stolen Generations are explored through many media: from painting on canvas and bark, to weaving and sculpture, and video, prints, photography, metalwork and glasswork.

This major survey exhibition celebrates the continued excellence and diversity of Indigenous practice today. 

Curator: Tina Baum

  • View Media Release here 
  • Download images for news and review here 


Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial is a National Gallery of Australia Exhibition.


The National Gallery of Australia acknowledges funding support from the Visions of Australia touring and the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Programs, both Australian Government programs aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians.

This exhibition has been made possible through the generous support of:

Thank you to our annual sponsor:


Tony Albert (Girramay/Yidinji/Kuku-Yalanji peoples) 
The Hand You're Dealt 2016