Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 24 Autumn 2010 Contents 202 INSITE AUTUMN
ALAN DODGE HAS taken up the
creative reins as chairman of the Murdoch
University Art Board. The former director
of the Art Gallery of WA has worked in the
visual arts for more than 35 years, having
held executive, management and curatorial
roles both in Australia and overseas.
His impact on the industry was
recognised when he was awarded an
Order of Australia for his services to the
Arts in 2008 and The Chevalier de l'Ordre
des Arts et des Lettres from the French
Government in 2007, which are two of
the highest national and international art
In his new role, Alan hopes to facilitate
an environment of visual discovery at the
university, where works are displayed in
venues across its campuses. "Murdoch's
approach is to focus on spaces to display
art that 's going to have the biggest
communication bet ween students, faculty
and visitors from the community," he says.
"It sets up a chance, that's maybe
not even planned on by the students or
community, to have a visual confrontation
that allows them to think in another way.
And since Murdoch's ethos is 'Discovers
Welcome,' I think that is a very good thing."
Alan will work with Murdoch University
art curator Mark Stewart to develop the
collection in a strategic direction. "If you
have a big strategy of covering absolutely
everything, you can't fulfil it," he explains.
"So, we've paid attention to particular
areas -- specifically Western Australian
Indigenous art-- and tried to think about
how we could cluster acquisitions to make
more sense within the context of the
collection that already exists."
Also on the acquisition agenda is Asian
artwork that relates to Australian themes.
"Asia is, of course, growing more and
more important to Australia for trade and
other reasons, along with our geographical
placement," Alan says. "So, perhaps the
way we will deal with that in the collection
is to focus on a connection between
Australian and Asian culture. It could be as
Inspiring, provocative and distinctly
Australian. The Murdoch University Art
Collection is set to create a journey of
discovery now Alan Dodge is at the helm.
specific as a Malaysian artist who
happens to live in Australia, or a visitor
who has responded artistically to their
experience of Australia."
Alan says the focus on contemporary
Australian and Indigenous artwork in the
collection is an important reflection of the
nation's identity, given Murdoch often
looks abroad in its intellectual endeavours.
"There are things like aids research
and veterinary studies happening at the
university that set up a dialogue with other
countries," he says. "I think it's right for
international visitors to see the Australian
identity reflected when they visit one of the
Murdoch campuses." Murdoch University,
(08) 9360 6000, murdoch.edu.au.
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