The Festival of Drawing 2021


March – May 2021

Featuring exhibitions, talks, symposium, workshops, classes and special events.

National Centre for Drawing

The National Centre for Drawing at the National Art School promotes and nurtures practice, research and scholarship in drawing in all of its manifestations. Positioned at the core of an educational institution and cultural precinct, it enables a range of audiences to engage more deeply with drawing. Through the practice of drawing, curatorial projects, exhibitions, publications, conferences, lectures and other special events, it nurtures a curiosity around drawing that is grounded in precedent but extends towards the unknown.


NAS Drawing Symposium

Friday 26 March 2021
Cell Block Theatre/Online
$150 In Person (including lunch and refreshments) / $120 NAS Alumni / $90 NAS Student / $50 Online

In this time of forced introversion and on-line communication, The National Centre for Drawing’s 2021 Drawing symposium delves into the question of what Drawing is and does now, how it connects us to the present and makes us present in the world. Eight different artists from all over the world will talk to you and each other about the role of drawing in their practice and the drawings that inspire them.

Hosted in the National Art School’s historic Cell Block Theatre, you are invited to attend either online or in person.



Gerry Davies (UK), Maria Kontis (VIC), Anita Fricek (Austria), Margaret Roberts (NSW), Peter Bonner (USA), Aida Tomescu (NSW), James Nguyen (VIC), Lucienne Rickard (TAS)

Margaret Olley Drawing Week


4–10 March 2021
Monday – Friday, 9am–5pm
Rayner Hoff Project Space

In the last week of February, 350 students return from the summer break to commence the next stage of their studies at the National Art School. They are hungry for the stimulation and rigour of the BFA program, but before they divide off for their
timetabled classes they participate in Margaret Olley Drawing Week.

In this special week, just before Week One of the academic year, there are no AM and PM sessions and no shifts between subjects: just full immersion in drawing, a discipline that is at the core of all study at the School.

Threaded Charcoal: Current Postgraduate Drawing


22 March – 9 April 2021
Monday – Friday, 9am–5pm
Library Stairwell Gallery

14 of our current MFA students will show the diversity of drawing. From stitching to ink washing, pinpricks in waxed paper to video, these students are alive to what drawing can be.

Dobell Drawing Prize #22


26 March – 22 May 2021
Monday – Saturday, 11am–5pm
Opening night and winner announcement Thursday 25 March 2021, 6–9pm
NAS Gallery

The Dobell Drawing Prize is the leading drawing exhibition in Australia and an unparalleled celebration of drawing innovation. Presented in partnership with the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation, the biennial prize explores the enduring importance of drawing within contemporary art practice. The 2021 exhibition presents work by 64 finalists, including:

Margaret Ambridge, SA
Suzanne Archer, NSW
Maree Azzopardi, NSW
Belinda Birchall, WA
Stephen Bird, NSW
Tom Blake, NSW
John Bokor, NSW
Matt Bromhead, NSW
Anthony Cahill, NSW
Mitch Cairns, NSW
Tom Carment, SA
Chris Casali, NSW
Susanna Castleden, WA
Joshua Charadia, NSW
Maryanne Coutts, NSW
Adrian De Giorgio, NSW
Damian Dillon, NSW
Amy Dynan, NSW
Yvonne East, NSW
Stephanie Eather, VIC
David Fairbairn, NSW
Jackson Farley, NSW
Philip Faulks, VIC
Mandy Francis, NSW
Todd Fuller, NSW
Joanna Gambotto, NSW
Minka Gillian, NSW
Jane Grealy, QLD
Amanda Penrose Hart, NSW
Nicci Haynes, ACT
Kendal Heyes, NSW
Alun Rhys Jones, NSW
Locust Jones, NSW
Jumaadi, NSW
Jennifer Keeler-Milne, NSW
Iluwanti Ken, NT
Martin King, VIC
Debbie Locke, VIC
Euan Macleod, NSW
Brian Martin, VIC
Julian Martin, VIC
Noel McKenna, NSW
Peta Minnici, NSW
Reg Mombassa, NSW
Nick Morris, VIC
Anna Mould, NSW
Al Munro, ACT
Anh Nguyen, NSW
Catherine O’Donnell, NSW
Travis Paterson, NSW
Maria Petrova, VIC
Anna Louise Richardson, WA
Peter Sharp, NSW
Emma Theyers, QLD
Noel Thurgate, NSW
Claire Tozer, NSW
Shonah Trescott, NSW
Leonardo Uribe, NSW
Murat Urlali, NSW
Craig Waddell, NSW
Fiona White, NSW
Paul White, VIC
Tianli Zu, NSW

From the Mountain to the Sky: Guy Warren Drawings


17 April – 22 May 2021
Monday – Saturday, 11am–5pm
Opening night Friday 16 April 2021, 6–9pm
The Drawing Gallery

The National Art School is proud to launch its new Drawing Gallery with an exhibition of drawings and works on paper by Guy Warren AM, NAS Alumnus, Fellow and esteemed artist. Drawing has always been at the heart of Warren’s practice. When he turns 100 in April 2021, he will have been drawing for at least 85 years. He has had a continuing concern with people as an integral part of the environment, using his personal view of the world to depict our relationship with mountains, jungles, rivers, deserts and the sky. He has often extended his art beyond the gallery. In 1994 he undertook the largest drawing ever attempted in Australia, a sky drawing of Icarus at 14,000 feet over Sydney Harbour. Risk taking is an integral part of Warren’s practice, and the ephemeral and beautiful image created with vapour is a testament to his poetic vision.

This exhibition explores the artist’s primal urge to draw and the diverse ways he makes his mark. It pays tribute to the artist’s great contribution to Australia’s visual culture, and a lifetime of creativity based on drawing.

Artist Talks and Public Lectures

The Life of William Dobell


Saturday 27 March 2021
Black Theatre

Hear from art historian and NAS Undergraduate Coordinator Lorraine Kypiotis and discover more about the work and life of Sir William Dobell.

Dobell Drawing Prize Finalists

Artist Talks

Saturday 27 March and Saturday 24 April 2021
NAS Gallery

Catch in-depth talks with Dobell Drawing Prize finalists with their work in the NAS Gallery.

What Can Drawing Be?

Panel Discussion

Saturday 15 May 2021
NAS Gallery

Hear from drawing experts in conversation with Dobell Drawing Prize finalists as they discuss the idea of What Can Drawing Be?

From the Mountain to the Sky: Guy Warren Drawings

Curator’s Tour

Saturday 17 April 2021
The Drawing Gallery

Hear from NAS Archive and Collections Manager Deborah Beck as she leads a tour of From the Mountain to the Sky: Guy Warren Drawings.

Guy Warren

Artist Talk

Saturday 22 May 2021
The Drawing Gallery

We invite you to hear from Guy Warren as he discusses work from his show, From the Mountain to the Sky: Guy Warren Drawings.

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