Discover exciting new works at ‘Matisse Alive’ at the Art Gallery of NSW


Free Matisse Gallery-wide festival showcases fascinating new artists alongside works by the French master painter

As the Art Gallery of New South Wales prepares to present the largest collection of Henri Matisse’s joyful works to ever fly to Sydney – Matisse: Life & Spirit, Masterpieces of the Center Pompidou, a paying exhibition open from November 20 – a free festival on the scale of Matisse’s gallery takes over the building. Open now, Matisse alive showcases vital new works, participatory projects, dazzling textiles, a music and performance program, and vibrant art exhibits from the gallery’s collection.

Four new artist projects are at the heart of Matisse alive, which present contemporary perspectives on this “modern master” and focus above all on his imagination of the Pacific. You can see the new work of the American artist Nina Chanel Abney, which explores race, gender, homophobia and politics in her mural-type collage work. Australian Smart sally, a follower of cut-out art, presents a large-scale multimedia installation of glued fabrics that continues his long-term investigation of female subjectivity. Angela Tiatia, which deciphers neo-colonialism, is inspired by his recent research trip to Tahiti to present The Pearl, an immersive video work that addresses the history of the colonization of the female body in Polynesia. and New Zealand Robin white, whose works created in collaboration with Ebony Fifita dramatize imagined encounters between Matisse and personalities from the Asia-Pacific world. There will also be a stunning display of tivaevae – the Polynesian art of quilting – made by the Cook Islands community in southwest Sydney.

Living space, a new display of the gallery’s collection, is a presentation of more than 70 works from the collection, and draws inspiration from Matisse’s vision of domestic spaces and objects. It reveals how modern and contemporary artists, including Betty woodman and Kamrooz Aram have shaped spaces of intimacy and contemplation. Children and families are also welcome to visit the Make space (open until January 16) to decorate a mural with magnetic patterns and belonging-themed objects designed by White and Fifita.

Matisse alive lags until April 3, 2022. You can find out more about the program, including workshops and music programs, here.

Want more? Check out the best exhibits to see in Sydney this month.


William E. Bennett

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