As the National Art School approaches its centenary occupying the historic site of the former Darlinghurst Gaol (1922-2022), NAS students across all disciplines – ceramics, painting, printmaking, sculpture and photomedia – continue to engage with drawing throughout their degree courses.
The school is affirming its core commitment to this crucial artistic skill with the establishment of the National Centre for Drawing (NCD), which seeks to promote and nurture practice, research and scholarship in drawing.
“This exciting new endeavour will foster informed dialogue, debate and understanding around the diversity of drawing practices in the context of fine art,” said NAS Director and CEO Steven Alderton. “It will also be a focal point for establishing national and international connections to educational and cultural institutions and organisations, galleries, art communities and practitioners, and to build audiences and public appreciation of drawing.”
The NCD will cultivate curiosity around this primary artistic discipline, grounded in the traditions and techniques of the past but extending to less visible or recognised forms of drawing, exploring its myriad possibilities as a form of contemporary creative expression, and extending to the outer realms of drawing practice.
The centre incorporates many elements including The Drawing Gallery, a new space at NAS dedicated to drawing exhibitions. The inaugural show, From the Mountain to the Sky: Guy Warren Drawings, celebrates one of Australia’s most admired artists Guy Warren, opening on his 100th birthday and running from 17 April – 22 May 2021.
NCD will also present programs, projects and events that incorporate the physical activity of drawing, including The Drawing Exchange bringing professional artists onto campus; the annual Margaret Olley Drawing Week with NAS students; and a diverse and engaging program of public workshops. The Festival of Drawing launches in 2021, a biannual event in conjunction with the Dobell Drawing Prize, including workshops, screenings, family activities, symposiums and talks.
NAS Head of Drawing Maryanne Coutts said the NCD will enrich cultural life on campus, hosting International and Emerging Artist Residencies to give students and staff the opportunity to engage with innovative contemporary drawing practices from outside the school. NCD will also produce printed and online publications for exhibitions and projects, and podcasts with in-depth conversations about drawing.