Inclusion and diversity are the key drivers shaping QVMAG's bold new future as embodied by their new permanent display for the Royal Park relaunch.
Driven by a desire to create a more inclusive space, the gallery has significantly reduced the amount of colonial artwork spotted around the gallery in favour of more Indigenous and LGBT+ artworks.
QVMAG'S senior visual art and design curator Ashleigh Whatling has been working behind the scenes to diversify the gallery's collection in a bid to attract a new audience.
"Launceston and Northern Tasmania are a diverse community, there are so many stories here that deserve to be told and celebrated," she said.
"What excites me about this exhibition is that it will invite new audiences to come in and see different stories that reflect themselves and their community."
The result is an innovative permanent display which uses sight lines and a modular format to better exemplify the artwork's themes of identity, belonging and the concept of being Tasmanian.
"When works are grouped thematically around ideas, works across time and space can come together to give a really rounded, nuanced and much more interesting version of identity and history in Tasmania," Ms Whatling said.
The gallery used to be laden with colonial portraits from a bygone era but some of those have made way to celebrate Northern Tasmania's Indigenous heritage.
The new display features 19 new acquisitions and nine new commissioned works from Australian artists.
Taymi Ningina by Vicki West, Dave Gough and Darryl Rogers is one of the new Indigenous additions which highlights the art gallery, formerly a tea tree forest, presence on Indigenous land in a visually striking multimedia format.
"It is a powerful work and its great to have a work like this at the entrance of the [QVMAG], it's a major step forwards and this whole exhibition is a major step forwards in my eyes," Gough said.
"It's about reclaiming something that is sovereign on this land," Rogers said.
The new display also possesses pieces representing the LGBT+ community and from queer artists.
Tasmania was the last state to repeal anti-homosexuality laws in 1997 but recorded one of the highest yes votes in Australia during the marriage equality plebiscite in 2017.
Ms Whatling said the inclusion of LGBT+ representation was a key consideration when developing the display.
"It is thrilling to include queer artists in this exhibition, queer history in Tasmania is powerful," she said.
"There have been strong activists and amazing work done in the queer space here and it hasn't always been celebrated and recognised.
"We have queer people in our community and they are a wonderful edition to who we are here."
QVMAG's knowledge and Content manager Christine Hansen said the resulting display was one of the best she had seen during her time with the organisation.
"This display is definitely my favourite of all the work I've participated in at QVMAG this is by far and away my favourite," she said.
"I think that's because the curation of it is really beautiful ... I hope everybody comes and enjoys it."
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Several statement works are spliced throughout the display including a "jewel in the crown" piece called Tuenne which is a crown constructed from King Maireener shells by Lola Greeno.
Mish Meijers and Tricky Walsh's A New Kind of Union sits strikingly over two walls with a vivid contrast of shapes, eye-catching colours and poetry designed to pay homage to the unnoticed labour which occurs in the Tasmanian community.
"Quite often we will notate people who have been involved in something if they've lost their lives and I think that discussion we probably had was that it'd be nice if we did that for the living," Walsh said.
"Maybe people would just pull words out and formulate their own strange little haiku poetry on it ... you can construct your own narrative."
Walsh and Gough hailed the new progressive approach from the gallery which was embodied in the new display.
"I think every time you get invited into something significant of course it is a privilege so you know you want to rise to that," Walsh said.
"[We've been] really focused on trying to make a cultural shift in this institution and I feel like now we're getting somewhere," Gough said.
"I feel like it's years and years of work come to fruition and we're making some statements and some a change of where we were."
Ms Whatling said she hoped that audiences would enjoy the new direction of the art gallery, celebrating 130 years. as it aims to better reflect the surrounding community.
"Come and visit QVMAG, we've changed, there is so much to see here and come back so many times because every time you come you're going to find a different angle and a different story," she said.
The exhibition is open to the public from August 1 from 10am to 4pm daily at QVMAG Royal Park site.
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