It’s the art event that put the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art on the map internationally and now last year’s APT10 has won the “Inspire Award – Organisations” at Creative Australia’s Asia Pacific Art Awards.

The 10th iteration of QAGOMA’s much-loved flagship exhibition series, the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, better known as APT, won the award in that category for its impact bringing together 69 projects by more than 150 artists and collaborators from more than 30 countries.

This timely recognition comes as QAGOMA prepares to announce the full list of artists for APT11, the next triennial, which starts from November 20. Mark your diaries everyone, because an APT year is always a big one in Brisbane.

As arts doyen the late Edmund Capon once said: “This is a unique event. There is no other art exhibition quite like it in the world.”

QAGOMA director Chris Saines says APT has “introduced Queensland to some of the most vital contemporary artists and compelling works of art from our part of the world and has been integral to the gallery’s growth since the first triennial”.

“We strive to expand our horizons and transparently represent the dynamic visual art milieu within which Australia finds itself,” Saines says.

The next chapter in QAGOMA’s flagship exhibition series will feature 70 projects from across Australia, Asia and the Pacific, encompassing work by more than 200 artists, makers and thinkers.

Across QAG and GOMA, The 11th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art will reflect the region’s social and cultural diversity, drawing on a wealth of cultural expression and including artists not previously exhibited in Australia. Participants will be announced soon.

APT11 artists consider knowledge in its many forms, following thematic threads such as care for natural and urban environments, intergenerational experiences of migration and labour and nuanced approaches to storytelling, materials and technique.

First Nations, minority and diaspora cultures are crucial to APT11, and the exhibition highlights the collective, performative and community-driven artmaking that thrives in the region.

Building on three decades of engagement in Asia and the Pacific, APT is developed by a team of QAGOMA curators working with co-curators, advisors and interlocutors from across the region and in South-East Queensland communities.

APT11 will be accompanied by live performance, public discussions, cinema programs and projects for young visitors along with ongoing community engagement activities and research partnerships, as well as a fully illustrated publication and newly commissioned digital essays for the Asia Pacific Art Papers series.

The truly international event has introduced many now-famous artists to a wider international audience – artists such as Ai Wei Wei, Yayoi Kusama and Cai Gou-Qiang, who was represented at several APTs.

The founder of the event, visionary former QAGOMA director Doug Hall, once described the APT as “the cultural marker of the Queensland Art Gallery’s international profile”.

“I recall the comment of one museum director whose Asian collections were regarded as one of the finest in America,” Hall recounted in a speech in 2019 as part of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne’s Lecture Series, Defining Moments: Australian Exhibition.

“It was more a lament than comment: ‘We have 4000 years of Asian art history and nothing after 1930’. The example of the APT was to help in changing that. The idea that the West changes, effortlessly internationalises, and that Asian cultures must be true to their heritage and fodder for the West has collapsed in the past three decades. A particular art-historical imperialism has vanished.

“The APT came to represent the Queensland Art Gallery, not only as an event but also as an enduring commitment to our region. Many professional and museological practices altered because of the APT. Changes happened from within and not always observing and taking the exemplar of others.”

With the advent of GOMA, the event just got bigger and now APT sprawls across both galleries and is a huge drawcard.

And it’s also a kind of soft diplomacy as Federal Minister for the Arts Tony Burke remarked when APT10 took out its recent gong at the Asia Pacific Art Awards.

“Engagement with our region isn’t only about the physical trade in goods,” Burke says. “It’s also about sharing our creativity with the region, engaging with creators throughout the region and most importantly creating new work together.”

That’s what APT is all about and APT11 will be here before you know it.

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