Past Exhibitions and Events

Resolution: New Indigenous Photomedia
Saturday 26 August 2017 - Sunday 29 October 2017

This exhibition creates an experience of photomedia and Indigeneity that is physical, embodied and thought-provoking. It features work made since 2011 from across the country and brings together some of Australia's most critically acclaimed artists, whose careers stretch back decades, with some of our most exciting emerging talent. Many of the artists featured in Resolution work across a broad range of media; perhaps as few as one third identify as specialist photographers or photomedia artists, an eclecticism which reflects the diversity and dynamism of contemporary practice. Similarly, the artists often possess complex cultural identities which complicate any straightforward categorisation of their work.

Artists include Michael Aird, Tony Albert, Brook Andrew, Ali G. Baker, Daniel Boyd, Megan Cope, Brenda L. Croft, Nici Cumpston, Robert Fielding, Nicole Foreshew, Ricky Maynard, Danie Mellor, Steaphan Paton, Damien Shen, Darren Siwes, Christian Thompson, Warwick Thornton, James Tylor, and Jason Wing.

The foundations of contemporary Indigenous photography were laid in the late 1980s with a generation of politicised and provocative artists who documented their experiences around the events of the Bicentennial marking 200 years of European settlement. The last 30 years has seen its maturation and the emergence of artists who engage critically, thoughtfully, sometimes forcefully, with the present and the past. They decide how they negotiate their way in the world, making work which reflects the challenging, hybrid nature of contemporary society.

Official Exhibition Opening - Friday 25 August, 5.30 to 7.30pm

With opening remarks by Kirsten Paisley, Deputy Director, National Gallery Australia and Paul Briggs, Yorta Yorta, Executive Director, Kaiela Institute and President of Rumbalara Football Netball Club.

Special events

Thursday 28 September, 5.30 to 6.30pm
SAM Out Late! September - Curatorial Floortalk with Kelli Cole and Belinda Briggs
Free. More information here, bookings here.

Friday 13 October, 6 to 8pm
Mixer & Mingler: GV Young Professionals at SAM
$25. Book via

Saturday 28 October, 9am to 12pm and 1pm to 4pm
Tour de Shepp: Photography & Cycling Workshop
Free. More information here, tickets for morning session here, afternoon session here.

Image: Christian Thompson, Gods and kings, 2015, (from the series Imperial relic), chromogenic colour photograph National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 2016, courtesy of Michael Reid, Sydney © the artist
Drawing Wall #28: Steaphan Paton
Saturday 12 August 2017 - Wednesday 18 October 2017

Steaphan Paton is a Melbourne-based artist who grew up in regional Victoria. Belonging to the Gunai and Monero nations, his work explores colonialism, tradition and complex dialogues around race and conflict. Informed by personal experience and his home country of ‘Gippsland’, Paton employs painting, sculpture, installation and video to articulate his worldview.

This matrix of loosely painted diamond shapes are representative of Gunai men’s markings that are embedded with cultural significance. Distinctive to South Eastern Australia, they allude to narratives around culture, ceremony and connection to Country and would traditionally be found on items such as shields, boomerangs and weapons. As a contemporary artist Paton’s patterns are stylized motifs that form part of his visual language, working in conjunction with traditional forms such as spears and cloaks and colonial artefacts such as shooting rifles and parking tickets.

Beneath Paton’s painterly gestures gold text spells out SUBSCRIBE TO UR TRIBE. Harnessing the language of the internet with its propensity for mass mobilization, this statement is intended as both an affirmative call to action and a gesture of empowerment. Subscription infers maintaining a link to a movement or organization and this work calls for a reconnection with one’s community, language and Country. Conversely, Paton’s words also critique those who act as cultural chameleons, opportunists that slide between tribal groups, appropriating other indigenous nations’ stories without concern for protocol.

Steaphan Paton most recently won the Koorie Art Commission at the Melbourne Museum, Melbourne (2015) with his collaboration with Megan Cope entitled Transcendence. Select solo exhibitions include Where the trees are big and green, Latrobe Contemporary Gallery, Morwell (2011). Select group exhibitions include Primavera, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney (2015); My Bullock Modified, Nextwave Festival, Melbourne (2014); From where I stand, Melbourne Museum, Melbourne (2014); Horizons, Bundoora Homestead, Bundoora (2014); Melbourne NOW, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2013); Sketchbook project, Brooklyn Art Library, New York (2012). He was a finalist in the Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth (2015), and a recipient of the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards, Ballarat (2007), also shortlisted in (2014, 2013, 2012, 2011). His work is held in the public collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Melbourne Museum, Melbourne; Brooklyn Art Library, New York; Wellington Shire Council, Gippsland; and in private collections in Australia and overseas. He is represented at Tristian Koenig Gallery, Melbourne. Steaphan Paton is showing a two channel video installation entitled Cloaked Combat #2 as part of Resolution: New Indigenous Photomedia upstairs at SAM 26 August – 29 October

IMAGE: Steaphan Paton, Muraskin VI 2017. Image courtesy and © the artist and Tristian Koenig Gallery, Melbourne.

Showcase #15: Kirsten Perry
Saturday 5 August 2017 - Sunday 22 October 2017

SAM’s 15th Showcase features the work of Melbourne-based ceramicist Kirsten Perry. In this Showcase, Perry expands on her interest in chance, error, humour and anthropomorphism, creating work that is uncanny, iconic, and beautifully crafted.

Central to her practice is the process of mould-making, where the artist takes on the challenge of casting discarded items and objects atypical to the ceramic medium. These include paper, foam and cardboard, allowing the artist to highlight imperfections and exaggerate the overseen blemishes in these materials. Using this process, Perry transforms found material into an object of practical and aesthetic value. Her forms play with negative space, geometry, and balance.

Kirsten Perry holds a Bachelor of Arts (Gold & Silversmithing) and a Bachelor of Industrial Design at RMIT University. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally, most recently having been a finalist in the Victorian Craft Award 2017, Mansfield Art Glass incorporating Ceramics Exhibition, 2017 and the KAFF Art Prize at the Korean Cultural Centre, Sydney in 2016.

Follow Kirsten on Instagram: @kirstenpp

Showcase 2017 presents exhibitions of new work by contemporary ceramicists in the glass display cabinet of SAM’s entry. Curated in partnership with Bree Claffey of Melbourne based gallery and retailer Mr Kitly, Showcase is a unique opportunity for collectors and craft lovers to acquire work from established and emerging contemporary artists, as all pieces are available for purchase at the SAM shop.

2017 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award
Saturday 17 June 2017 - Sunday 13 August 2017
Drawing Wall #27: Bundit Puanthong
Saturday 3 June 2017 - Wednesday 2 August 2017

Bundit Puangthong is a contemporary Thai artist based in Melbourne who immigrated to Australia in 2000. His enigmatic paintings fuse Buddhist mythology with a graffiti art style, resulting in vibrant and frenzied compositions.

Borrowing from an array of disparate sources, Bundit weaves religious iconography with personal narratives and pop cultural symbols. His resulting works have a stream of consciousness effect that merges together cultures, histories and the painterly traditions of the temple and the street. Using an intuitive approach that embraces chance and precision, Bundit’s works often strike a balance between expressive painterly gestures and carefully controlled illustrations.

Drawing Wall #27 combines Thai mythology with Shepparton’s history of migration. The scene depicts a traditional Thai epic, The Ramayana, which features the character of Hanuman, a supernatural and immortal monkey who was also the leader of an army. In the story, Hanuman made his body into a bridge (signified by his fish-like scales) that allowed his army to cross a great ocean to another land. As an Australian artist from a migrant background, Puangthong uses the analogy of the magical Hanuman to open up conversations around re-settlement and place.

Bundit Puangthong holds a Bachelor of Arts in printmaking from Chaing Mai University, Thailand (1995); a Masters of Visual Arts from the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne (2005). Select group exhibitions include Finalist, Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize, Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria (2017 and 2011); Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane (2015); Melbourne Art Fair, Edwina Corlette Gallery (2014); Finalist Group Exhibition, Sovereign Art Prize, Hong Kong (2008). Solo exhibitions include Reliving, Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane (2016); Full Circle, Fehily Contemporary, Melbourne (2015); Heaven Nine, Chalk Horse Gallery, Sydney (2014); Bundit Puangthong, Mossgreen Gallery, Melbourne (2009). He has exhibited widely throughout Australia and Asia, and his work is held in public and private collections. Bundit Puangthong is represented by Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane; and Olsen gallery, Sydney.

Image: Bundit Puanthong, Takeaway Dove 2016, acrylic and spray paint on linen 168 x 170cm, courtesy and © Bundit Puangthong and Olsen Gallery


Tuesday 11 July - Technicolour Dreams - Spray-paint and Existstencilism. Read more or book in now.

Showcase #14: Ulrica Trulsson
Saturday 6 May 2017 - Sunday 30 July 2017

Swedish-born ceramicist Ulrica Trulsson is known for the restrained minimalist quality of her domestic ware, visible in this series of stoneware vessels, vases and canisters.

There is an apparent simplicity to her work, underpinned by an inherent attention to detail that looks effortless. Wheel thrown forms are carefully crafted, characterised by refined structural elements and subdued glazes and textures. In many respects, these works are an ode to the tenets of the Arts and Crafts movement (1880-1910) with its celebration of materials.

Configured into groupings, Trulsson’s vessels are as much informed by their formal qualities and surface details as they are by the negative space which they occupy and their relationship to each other. Aspects such as light and shadow, presence and absence are of equal value.

Trulsson has exhibited across Australia, with a solo exhibition profiling her work at Sabbia Gallery, Sydney. She currently has a studio at JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design and is based in Adelaide.

Follow Ulrica on Instagram: @ulricatrulsson

2017 presents exhibitions of new work by contemporary ceramicists in the glass display cabinet of SAM’s entry. Curated in partnership with Bree Claffey of Melbourne-based gallery and retailer Mr Kitly, Showcase is a unique opportunity for collectors and craft lovers to acquire work from established and emerging contemporary artists, as all pieces are available for purchase at the SAM shop.

Image: Ulrica Trulsson, stoneware, porcellaneous stoneware, matte, satin white & clear glaze; tallest height 40.5cm, 2017. Photography by Michael Haines.

Saturday 1 April 2017 - Sunday 4 June 2017

FRESHWATER considers how water reflects ecological, cultural, political and economic realities. Through the works of over 20 Australian artists and artist collectives, alongside historic works drawn from the SAM Collection, FRESHWATER highlights how water remains central to identity, and to how and where we live.

Issues range from ecological concerns about rising salinity, plant and animal environments, refuse and waste, to the inevitable contest around sustainable balances between environmental and agricultural needs. Rivers and waterways also have cultural and historical significance as they sustain work and life and remind us of stories that stretch across time and place.

Two major waterways meet at the heart of Shepparton: The Goulburn River (or Kaiela River as local Aboriginal people refer to it); and the Broken River. The Goulburn River then runs from Shepparton through to Echuca, where it joins the Murray River. This region is rich and fertile, sustaining economies and agricultural practices from cattle and dairy, to the orchards for which Shepparton is known.

FRESHWATER artists include: Ian Abdulla, Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley, Louis Buvelot, Vera Cooper, Nici Cumpston, Bonita Ely, Jackie Giles Tjapaltjarri, Eugene von Guerard, Brent Harris, Andrew Hazewinkel, Jonathan Jones and Tom Nicholson, Rosemary Laing, Sir John Longstaff, James Morrison, Albert Namatjira, Nyurapayia Nampitjinpa, Rosie Nanyuma, Wintijya Napaljarri, Lin Onus, Jill Orr, Tiger Palpatja, Eva Ponting, John Skinner Prout, Sally Ross, The Telepathy Project, Gloria Thanacoupie, Johnny Yungut Tjupurrula, Fred Williams, and John Wolseley.

Official Exhibition Opening: Friday 31 March, 5.30 to 7.30pm, 70 Welsford Street, Shepparton.
Acknowledgement to Country: Belinda Briggs, SAM Curatorial Assistant, Visual Arts Residency
Opening remarks: Peter Quinn, Managing Director, Goulburn Valley Water & Chair, SAM Foundation

Special event: The Telepathy Project, A Meeting of Waters. Sat 27 May at Historic GV Water Tower, Welsford St, Shepparton. Begins 4pm sharp, runs until 5.30pm. Book here.

Exhibition runs Saturday 1 April - Sunday June 4

Curator: Dr Rebecca Coates Curatorial associates: Anna Briers, Belinda Briggs

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences are advised that the exhibition may contain images and voices of people who have since passed away.

FRESHWATER is part of CLIMATE’s ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE 2017 - a festival of exhibitions and events harnessing the creative power of the Arts to inform, engage and inspire action on climate change.

Image: Andrew Hazewinkel, Domus_Sub/merge, 2006 - 2009, 2 of 16 paired archival pigment prints on paper, overall dimensions 144 x 210, b/w images Ashby, Bulwer, Mackey collections, Photo Archive, British School at Rome, Courtesy of the Ricardo de Souza and Terry Harding Collection © the artist
Nice Jugs and Vessels from the SAM collection
Friday 31 March 2017 - Sunday 29 October 2017

SAM’s display cabinet showcases 132 ceramic vessels that might be used to hold water. Selected from SAM’s extensive ceramics collection these jugs, flasks, vases and teapots, have been crafted largely by commercial manufacturers for utilitarian purposes.

Production companies showcased include Australian and British makers. Victorian makers include Bendigo Pottery (1857-) and Premier Pottery- Remued (1930s-50s); New South Wales based companies include makers such as Bakewell Brothers (1884-1955) and Diana Pottery (1887-); while Bennetts Magill Pottery (1887-) and Campbell’s Pottery (1881-1960) are representative of Adelaide and Tasmania respectively. British potteries include Crown (1847-1973); Shelley (1822-1971) and many more.

Produced between 1930s-1960s these nice jugs and vessels reveal a diversity of forms, artistic approaches and influences. The Australian ceramics are often identifiable by their high gloss surfaces, gestural glaze application and high octane palette of emerald greens, royal blues and earthy browns, as reflected by Premier Pottery-Remued’s earthenware jugs (c.1935) that display characteristic drip-glazes and expressive organic forms, while the three piece Canadian tea set by Bendigo pottery (c.1935) has a handsome brush applied majolica glaze.

By contrast, many of the ceramics from the United Kingdom are typified by matt glaze surfaces with a hand painted feel, a muted pastel palette is often combined with fiery orange. This is evidenced by the Middle Eastern inspired works by Empire Porcelain Co. that exhibit strong gradations of tone achieving a dappled ombré effect. Fluted jugs from the 1940s by John Beswick and S. Fielding and Co. reflect Art Deco influences with dramatically inclining pourers or angular stepped rims. By comparison, the Calton Ware earthenware vases of the 1960s epitomize the mid-century Modernist period. Their ovoid and spherical forms with concentric incisions evoke celestial bodies or planets, reflecting an obsession with futurism in the age of the space race.

 Exhibition runs 31 March - 29 October, 2017.

Photo: Nice Jugs and Vessels from the SAM Collection install shot. Photo by Chris Hawking.

Drawing Wall #26: James Tylor
Sunday 26 February 2017 - Wednesday 24 May 2017

James Tylor has a multicultural heritage comprised of Nunga (Kaurna), Maori (Te Arawa) and European ancestry. Through this lens his work focusses on representations of cultural identity, as well as the weight of the Australian colonial legacy on the present day.

As a photographer, Tylor is known for embracing both experimental and historical processes that span analogue and digital. He employs a medium traditionally used to document Indigenous people in the 19th Century as a means to re-write historical omissions, or reclaim representations of history. Contrary to the idea of the ‘untouched’ landscape (terra nullius), this series of posters address the social erasure that occurred during the European settlement of Australia.

“(Erased Scenes) from an Untouched Landscape (2013-14) highlights the present day absence of Indigenous culture within the Australian landscape and how this phenomenon is a direct result of the impact of European colonisation. The first European colonists forced the local Indigenous people off their traditional lands and into small Christian missions and government reserves. This allowed the new arrivals free access to clear the land for settlements, forestry and agriculture etc. This clearing of the landscape resulted in the removal of Indigenous cultural artifacts and our identity from the Australian landscape.” (JT)

Image: James Tylor, (Erased scenes) From an untouched landscape #4, 2014, inkjet print on hahnemuhle paper with hole removed to a black velvet void, Edition of 5, 50 x 50cm © the artist


Showcase #13 - Leah Jackson's Combinations
Saturday 4 February 2017 - Sunday 30 April 2017

Combinations is an exploration in porcelain domestic ware by Leah Jackson that expands upon her existing range of brightly coloured tableware. Pushing her medium in a new, more ambitiously scaled direction, Jackson has created a group of modular vessels; stacks of geometric shapes that combine into dynamic feature vases and other objects. Initiated by the endless-seeming design possibilities of form and colour in her daily studio practice, Combinations embraces the more sculptural potential of the domestic interior space, and the objects used within it.

Artist Bio:

Leah Jackson is a Melbourne based ceramicist, with a practice that encompasses both the functional and the sculptural. The domestic space is a continuing influence in her work. Jackson completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Hons) with a major in Ceramics at the ANU School of Art in 2003. Recent solo exhibitions include: Interiors, Mr Kitly Gallery, Melbourne; An Epic Romance, Craft, Melbourne. Select recent group exhibitions include: Aesthetics Room, curated by Kim Brockett at Mr Kitly Gallery, Melbourne; Chinatown: the sequel, curated by Liv Barrett at ltd los angeles, Los Angeles; and Rock Solid, curated by Meredith Turnbull at Pieces of Eight Gallery, Melbourne.


2017 presents exhibitions of new work by contemporary ceramicists in the glass display cabinet of SAM’s entry. Curated in partnership with Bree Claffey of Melbourne based gallery and retailer Mr Kitly, Showcase is a unique opportunity for collectors and craft lovers to acquire work from established and emerging contemporary artists, as all pieces are available for purchase at the SAM shop.


Tracey Moffatt and Gary Hillberg Featuring Montages: The Full Cut, 1999 – 2015
Saturday 28 January 2017 - Sunday 19 March 2017

At SAM from January 28 to March 19 2017 Official opening 4 February, 4 to 6pm. Opening remarks by Professor Charles Green, Art History, School of Culture and Communication, The University of Melbourne.

SAM is delighted to present the collaborative work of Tracey Moffatt and Gary Hillberg in the exhibition Montages: The Full Cut, 1999 – 2015 developed by Artspace, Sydney and touring nationally in partnership with Museums & Galleries of NSW.

Alongside the eight montage films, SAM will also present Moffatt’s First Jobs Series, (2008). Moffatt collected the series of 12 photographs which relate directly to past jobs she has held. Digitally inserting her likeness into these photographs Moffatt reflects on her past jobs from working in a pineapple cannery to a fresh fruit grocer, evoking a sense of nostalgia that we can all relate to.

Montages: The Full Cut, 1999 – 2015 presents eight montage films that reflect on cinema and the cinematic form, offering unprecedented insight into the stereotypes that populate our collective cultural imagination. Using an extensive collection of iconic Hollywood films, telemovies and arthouse cinema, Montages: The Full Cut, 1999 – 2015 invents new fictions and plays with narrative and character conventions to create highly charged compositions on themes such as love, art, revolution and destruction.

Tracey Moffatt is regarded internationally as one of the most important Australian artists of our time, and in 2017 will become the first Australian Indigenous artist to present a solo exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Gary Hillberg has been a long-time collaborator of Moffatt’s and also has an independent practice as an experimental filmmaker and music video producer. 

Tracey Moffatt and Gary Hillberg. Featuring Montages: The Full Cut, 1999 – 2015 will be showing at SAM from January 28 to March 19 2017, with Shepparton being the only Victorian location for the touring show.

SAM presents Montages: The Full Cut, 1999-2015, an exhibition developed by Artspace and toured nationally in partnership with Museums & Galleries of NSW, alongside key works by Tracey Moffatt.

Exhibition Dates: Saturday 28 January to Sunday 19 March 2017
Official Opening: Saturday 4 February 2017, 4 to 6pm. All welcome - Please RSVP to (03) 5832 9861 or email


Exhibition logos


Image Credit: Tracey Moffatt & Gary Hillberg, Love (still), 2003, 21 minutes, looped video, sound, Courtesy the artist, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery and Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York.

Some of the Things I Like
Friday 16 December 2016 - Sunday 19 March 2017

Nell's Wunderkammer. Showing until Sunday 19 March, 2017

In this site specific installation, Nell has created a Wunderkammer or ‘cabinet of curiosities’ using ceramics and other treasures from the SAM Collection, supplemented with her own artworks and objects from her personal collection gifted from friends and colleagues. In Renaissance Europe, The Wunderkammer was an encyclopedic collection of objects whose categorical boundaries were yet to be defined. Traditionally these objects ranged from natural history specimens to geology, ethnography, religious or historical relics, works of art or antiquities. This array of specimens from all corners of the globe were considered to reflect Europe’s imperial force, alleged dominion over nature and supposed cultural superiority.

Nell subverts this museological tradition. The artist is known for her varied artistic vocabulary that spans media from painting and installation through to ceramics, video and performance. While her use of media is diverse, her artistic concerns or ‘Nellness’ is quite singular. Uncanny groupings are created and juxtaposed against neons and the artist’s text based wallpaper, which speaks of classification systems. She builds thematic connections and resonances between the museum’s collecting history and her own obsessions and interests. Nell has called this cabinet Some of the Things I Like. Also though, it’s an open ended proposition to the viewer to form their own connections and narratives through the objects on display.

 Numerous themes prevail around Australiana, typography, the sacred and the profane. Life, death, rebirth and spiritual consciousness are expressed through icons, artifacts, and egg-like forms. A plaster cast Jesus gazes down at a crown of thorns comprised of guitar strings and red beads that resemble the blood of Christ. Indigenous narratives are espoused through works by the Hermannsburg and Ernabella Potters with motifs that reveal a spiritual connection to Country. Totemic sculptures, ghost forms and tree spirit references proliferate, made by artists such as Jenny Orchard and Kaye Poulton. The Hindu Elephant Goddess Ganesha dialogues with a ceramic vessel that conveys a narrative around the ‘original sin’. Anthropometric faces evoke guardian spirits and the protective Eye of Horus looks on. Themes of Australiana and early settlement are also apparent through slip cast native animals such as frogs by Bendigo Pottery (c.1940) and kookaburras by Darbyshire (c.1950). Teapots in the shape of Flinders St Station (1984) collide with earthenware koala umbrella stands (1930). Honey ants and budgerigars are conveyed in vessels by the Hermannsburg potters. Ginger jars and a rice container by unknown Chinese ceramicists reveal domestic imperatives during the early Gold Rush settlements in Ballarat.

The Wunderkammer is known as the theatre of the world. As a precursor to museums, its systems and classifications were created as a way to frame and understand our universe. Through the intention of the artist the proverbial card deck is reshuffled – producing new ways to view the SAM Collection for its 80th year anniversary.

IMAGE: NELL, Some of the Things I Like, 2016, mixed media installation, dimensions variable, Shepparton Art Museum