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Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT)


Installation view of AI Weiwei’s Boomerang 2006 (foreground) and Pillar through round table 2004-05 (background) in APT5 2006 at the Queensland Art Gallery | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) is the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art’s flagship contemporary art event, and is the only major exhibition series to focus exclusively on the contemporary art of Asia, the Pacific and Australia.

Since the first Triennial in 1993, more than 2.3 million people have visited the exhibitions, with the most recent, APT7 in 2012-13 celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first APT.

The APT is distinguished from other international art biennials and triennials by its extensive acquisition program and commissioning focus. The Gallery is one of few public institutions to collect both contemporary Asian and Pacific art and it has built these collections in tandem with the APT series.

The highly acclaimed Kids’ APT program, initiated in 1999, features commissioned interactive artworks by exhibiting artists. Kids’ APT is an integral part of the exhibition series, aiming to engage young visitors with the ideas and work of contemporary artists from across the region. Other features of Kids’ APT include a publishing program, workshops and Kids’ APT on Tour, extending artists’ projects to regional and remote Queensland.

The APT regional programs also include artist residencies, regional Queensland internships and education programs.

Since 2006, the Gallery’s Australian Cinémathèque has curated film programs as a key component of APT. The thematic film programs profile diverse video and filmmaking practices, genres and practitioners working across cinema and contemporary art.

With their unique focus on the contemporary art of Asia, Australia and the Pacific, the accompanying APT publications, academic papers and public programs contribute to critical scholarship and research into art of the region. The Gallery’s Australian Centre of Asia Pacific Art (ACAPA) offers research opportunities for scholars, artists and curators, through an active, ongoing program of publishing, talks, artist and curator residencies, and an extensive archive held by the Gallery’s Research Library.

The APT series offers a unique educational experience for primary, secondary and tertiary students. Teachers and students are offered multiple entry points to engage with the exhibition including virtual tours, teacher notes and worksheets, which provide links to the curriculum and activities for the classroom.

Twenty years of APT

The first three Triennials demonstrated the diversity of contemporary art practice across the region, profiling 220 artists from 20 different countries. APT 2002 was radically different in that it considered developments in contemporary art over recent decades through in-depth explorations of 16 individual artists. APT5 (2006), the opening exhibition in GOMA, continued to develop this new model and featured a selection of works from 35 artists and two multi-artist projects (a total of 66 artists).

In 2009, APT6 profiled the work of over 100 artists from 25 countries, including a number of artists and artist collaborations never seen in Australia before. It was the largest curated exhibition presented by an art museum in Australia, occupying the entire Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) as well as galleries at the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG).

In 2012 we celebrated twenty years of APT with ‘The 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT7) (8 December 2012 – 14 April 2013). APT7 explored new developments in works from across Asia, the Pacific and Australia, as well as reflecting on the past two decades of contemporary art from the region.