Occurrent Affair Opening Weekend Activities

proppaNOW art collective
The proppaNOW artist collective (left to right): Gordon Hookey, Jennifer Herd, Tony Albert, Megan Cope, Richard Bell, Vernon Ah Kee. Photo: Rhett Hammerton. The collective also includes the late Laurie Nilsen.

Saturday 24 June 2023
Join us for free art making workshops and a panel discussion to celebrate the opening weekend of OCCURRENT AFFAIR, a major exhibition by the proppaNOW artist collective.

The National Art School (NAS) is proud to present OCCURRENT AFFAIR, a major exhibition of new and recent works by Meanjin/Brisbane-based Aboriginal artist collective proppaNOW, featuring the practices of Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Richard Bell, Megan Cope, Jennifer Herd, Gordon Hookey and the late Laurie Nilsen. We are also excited to announce three artists invited to join the collective – Shannon Brett, Lily Eather and Warraba Weatherall  – the first new members since proppaNOW was established in 2003.


Free Art Making Workshops for teens

Futures: How do you feel when you think about the future?

Free hands-on drop in drawing workshop for young people 12-18, NAS campus, Darlinghurst, no booking required

Young people aged 12-18 are welcome to drop in between 12-2pm for a free collaborative art-making workshop on the NAS campus. This large-scale collaborative drawing program will be led by the FLENK collective. Come prepared to get your hands dirty!

Free Panel Talk with artists from the proppaNOW collective

Sovereignty was never ceded: Protest, resistance, and resilience in the work of the proppaNOW artist collective

Cell Block Theatre, National Art School, free admission. Booking required: RSVP here

‘proppaNOW’ – it’s about being proper; it’s about the protocol. And ‘now’ is about reacting to now. We don’t make art about what happened in the Dreaming. We don’t make art about what happened in the Creation Time. We make art about now. – Gordon Hookey

Join Dr Stephen Gilchrist in conversation with artists Tony Albert, Megan Cope, Gordon Hookey, Lily Eather and Warraba Weatherall, original and new members of the Meanjin/Brisbane-based Aboriginal artist collective proppaNOW. The panel discussion will focus on their collaborative approach to contemporary activism through their art practices. The major touring exhibition OCCURRENT AFFAIR addresses current socio-political, economic and environmental issues, while celebrating the strength, resilience and continuity of Aboriginal culture. Together the panel will examine questions relating to sovereignty, protest and resistance as well as established notions of Aboriginal art and identity.

The proppaNOW artist collective includes Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Richard Bell, Megan Cope, Jennifer Herd, Gordon Hookey, and the late Laurie Nilsen. Three new members were invited to join the collective in June 2023, Shannon Brett, Lily Eather and Warraba Weatherall. The collective was formed in 2003 with the intention of challenging the institutional discrimination of ‘urban’ Aboriginal artists. Through the strength of the collective, the artists provoke, subvert and rethink damaging stereotypes of what Aboriginal art is and can be. The collective’s name is drawn from the Aboriginal colloquial expression ‘proper way’, meaning to do things with due regard to appropriate protocols and community respect, reflecting the strong moral and political principles which guide the group to challenge institutionalised racism.

Belonging to the Yamatji people of the Inggarda language group of northwest Western Australia, Dr Stephen Gilchrist is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Indigenous Studies at the University of Western Australia. He is a writer and curator who has worked with the Indigenous Australian collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, the British Museum, London, the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, and the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College.


This education resource has been written by Merindah Funnell, Emma Hicks and Nicole Barakat for FLENK Collective and produced in partnership with Museums & Galleries of NSW and UQ Art Museum for the touring exhibition OCCURRENT AFFAIR. This exhibition, showcasing work by influential urban Aboriginal collective proppaNOW, was initially exhibited at UQ Art Museum in 2021 and is now touring across Australia.

This exhibition from The University of Queensland Art Museum touring with Museums & Galleries of NSW has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia program.


Saturday 24 June

12-2pm: Art Making Workshops for 12-18 year-olds, free

3-4:30pm: General public Panel Talk with proppaNOW artists, free


NAS Campus, 156 Forbes Street, Darlinghurst

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