Australia’s oldest independent gallery vamps up for annual gala and benefit auction

Brisbane’s hot-bed for contemporary art set to celebrate 46 years of art in style.

Words: Thomas Kusturin

Collectors and art enthusiasts are invited to celebrate Australia’s oldest independent public art gallery, and Brisbane’s very own darling, and daring (if not both), contemporary flashpoint for the arts – the Institute of Modern Art (IMA).

The annual IMA Gala and Benefit Auction is taking place in the lush surrounds of The Calile Hotel Grand Room on Friday 18 June. The Gala is a chance to honour two significant Australian artists – Jenny Watson and the late Laurie Nilsen –  within a fittingly historic mis en scene, while raising funds to support the IMA through an auction of works by local and international artists.

IMA Director Liz Nowell says, The return of the annual Winter Gala and Benefit Auction celebrates the contribution made by contemporary art in Australia and supports the continuation of IMA’s mission to be Queensland’s leading independent forum for the creation of new works and transformative opportunities that benefit artists and the wider audience alike.”

This year the auction boasts more than 30 works spanning painting, photography, sculpture, and video. Highlights include the work of leading Australian artists Vernon Ah Kee, Mikala Dwyer, Yhonnie Scarce, Judy Watson, Richard Bell, Dale Harding, Daniel Boyd, and Tracey Moffatt next to major international offerings by Marina Abramović, Heman Chong and Marianna Simnett.

In a first for the IMA, the Benefit Auction will be accessible online in the days leading up to the Gala, on view from 3 June online at and at the gallery 15 and 16 June. While the bidding will close to coincide with the Gala (ending Friday 18 June at 10pm AEST) the auction platform is accessible to anyone, anywhere around the world.

This year’s benefit auction draws on the IMA’s extensive exhibition history, featuring pieces by local, national, and international artists who have shown at the gallery since 1975. The IMA has positioned itself indelibly at the cradle of Queensland’s contemporary arts scene and as hallmark model for any culturally engaged platform. IMA’s long-standing commitment to social, sustainable and critical research has played out through a consistent nurturing of the development of emerging Australian art practices, inter-woven within a wider global scope of context. Boasting an expansive annual program of exhibitions, public events, off-site happenings and publications, the IMA’s more holistic philosophy anchors, with gravitational force, the Brisbane art scenes reputation for producing Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists whose work transgresses historico-cultural tropes with cunning sophistication.

The full list of participating artists include:

Marina Abramović

Khadim Ali

Lincoln Austin

Jordan Azcune

Richard Bell

Tom Blake

Mikala Dwyer

Natalya Hughes

Jenna Lee

Ross Manning

Lachlan McKee

Tracey Moffatt

Luke Roberts

Paula Savage

Yhonnie Scarce

Marianna Simmnet

Judy Watson

Daniel Boyd

Heman Chong

Raquel Ormella

Dale Harding

Lisa Waup

Emily Floyd

For tickets and more information visit

Image: 2018 IMA Gala. Courtesy: IMA, Brisbane. 


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