Refurbished Rockhampton Museum of Art honours heritage, inclusivity, and connection

Following a multi-million dollar transformation, the new-look RMOA is set to impress when it launches in the coming week.

Words: Charlotte Middleton

Reinforcing Queensland’s reputation as a key and growing site for Australian contemporary art, the refurbished Rockhampton Museum of Art (RMOA) will officially open its doors on 25 February 2022.

Joining GOMA and HOTA as another world-class arts hub in Queensland, RMOA places Rockhampton on the world stage, with a curatorial program and state-of-the-art facilities worthy of its acclaimed collection. The gallery will also attract new headline exhibitions and international artists whose work may have only been exhibited in capital cities.

The redevelopment integrates seamlessly into its surrounding environment by the banks of the Fitzroy River (Tunuba) on Darumbal Country, aiming to inspire locals and tourists to interact with visual art as part of a broader social and cultural experience.

“The reimagined RMOA is first and foremost a meeting place,” said Rockhampton Regional Council Mayor Tony Williams of the multi-million dollar project, which was jointly funded by the Australian Government, Queensland Government, and the Rockhampton Regional Council.

“We are thrilled to see the precinct come to life as a new community hallmark; its architecture and integration with the broader environment reflects a progressive vision, while celebrating the region’s rich history.”

With one of the largest holdings of modern Australian art outside a capital city, RMOA’s collection will be more accessible than ever following its facelift, offering a range of mixed-use spaces to host school, university, and community groups, as well as community recreation spaces.

With a major focus on education and strengthening cultural connections, the refreshed vision for RMOA also includes an extensive First Nations engagement program. For its launch, the museum has commissioned Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal artist D. Harding, with their strong personal and familial ties to the region spanning decades, to complete a major artwork.

Titled Wall Composition on Darumbal, Harding’s work invokes cultural and site-specific narratives intrinsic to Country, and a universal celebration of the creative spirit.

“Our approach to running the gallery and its scheduled programming will champion inclusivity,” commented RMOA Director Jonathan McBurnie. “We are excited to bring big artists and exhibitions to Rockhampton, but we are equally excited about making these creative spectacles accessible for the entire community.”

“Success for us at RMOA will see visitors from all ages and demographics make meaningful social connections with each other through a shared celebration of art, creative energy and diversity.”

This article was posted 17 February 2022.

Image: Artist D Harding at work on their commission ‘Wall Composition on Darumbal’. 

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