Philanthropists give $100,000 for Rockhampton Museum of Art commission

Published on 05 August 2020


Philanthropists donate $100,000 for Rockhampton Museum of Art Commission

Internationally acclaimed Aboriginal artist Dale Harding will create a landmark artwork to be unveiled at the opening of Rockhampton Museum of Art in 2021 thanks to a $100,000 fundraising project by Rockhampton Art Gallery Philanthropy Board.

The fundraising project, Commissioning Collective 2021: Dale Harding, reached its target in just five months with donations from 20 donors.

Global economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19 is being felt in most sectors of the community including charitable gifts and donations, but Rockhampton Art Gallery Philanthropy Board is bucking the trend, with the announcement that one of its fundraising projects has raised $100,000 in the inaugural Commissioning Collective for Rockhampton Museum of Art.

Dale Harding is an internationally acclaimed artist and a descendant of the Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal peoples of Central and Western Queensland. He has gained recognition for works that examine the political and social histories of his family and community.

In the commission, Harding will create a work that specifically responds to the architecture of Rockhampton Museum of Art.

Rockhampton Regional Council Community Services Portfolio Spokesperson Councillor Drew Wickerson thanked the donors for their contributions.

“This commission would not be possible without the generosity of the 20 donors, each of whom are visionaries and leaders. Their philanthropy will bring this major artwork to life. In these unique and economically uncertain times of COVID-19, with people and businesses tightening their belts, I am humbled and proud of these donors for their support of their community and region and of the Rockhampton Museum of Art,” she said.

“Rockhampton Art Gallery has its founding in philanthropy. In the 1970s the city and region came together to raise tens of thousands of dollars in order to develop an art collection. Five decades on, philanthropy and giving still runs in the veins of Rockhampton Art Gallery and its donors and supporters.

“These donors are supporting the very best of Australian contemporary art in Rockhampton. With their direct support, Rockhampton Museum of Art’s nationally significant collection will remain relevant to the present day and will help develop Rockhampton into a leading Queensland cultural destination,” he said.

Rockhampton Art Gallery Philanthropy Board plays a strategic leadership role in the development of philanthropy for Rockhampton Art Gallery, and the new Rockhampton Museum of Art. One of its key roles is to raise funds and encourage donations to acquire artworks, provide financial assistance for the Gallery’s programs and facilitate financing major infrastructure projects.

Chair of Rockhampton Art Gallery Philanthropy Board, Dr Leonie Gray said that the opening of Rockhampton Museum of Art will present a unique opportunity for our community to recognise, acknowledge and value the rich and powerful history of the Australian First Nations people.

“As we welcome the next iteration of our Art Gallery, Rockhampton Museum of Art, we do so on the land of Darumbal peoples. This commission seeks to acknowledge place and Country on which Rockhampton Museum of Art is sited.

“In commissioning this work, we are opening the conversation for people living in our community to have deeper and alternative experiences of Australian Aboriginal culture and their histories. By inspiring and insisting on a greater shared understanding of the culture and true history of First Nations at Rockhampton Museum of Art,” she said.

Rockhampton Art Gallery is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council.

Rockhampton Museum of Art is funded by the Australian Government through the Building Better Regions Fund; the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and through the Building Our Regions program; and Rockhampton Regional Council.

To find out more about becoming a donor visit


DONORS to Commissioning Collective 2021: Dale Harding

Dr Robin Bade and Prof. Michael Parkin

Dr. Christine and Dr. David Campbell


CITY PRINTING WORKS: Mr Eric Anderson & Mr Warwick Anderson

Emeritus Professor Debbie Clayton

Mr. Steven and Mrs. Meghan Deaves


GALA Gallery: Mrs Tracey Siddins & Mr Billy-Joe Siddins

Mr. Howard Smith and Mrs. Gail Godwin Smith

IAN WEIGH MOTORS PTY LTD: Mr. Ian & Mrs. Cathie Weigh

Mrs Janice Labbett & Mr Roger Labbett


Dr Evan Matthews and Mrs Kim Matthews

MOORE EYES: Mr Tom Moore and Mrs Fiona Moore


Fiona and Ben Poschelk


THE CASSIDY HOSPITALITY GROUP:  Mr Grant Cassidy OAM & Mrs Rebecca Cassidy




Dale Harding working on his commission Wall Composition in Reckitt’s Blue 2017 onsite at the Queensland Art Gallery, 2017 / Photograph: Chloë Callistemon, QAGOMA

Dale Harding, Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal peoples, Australia b.1982 / Wall Composition in Reckitt’s Blue 2017 / Reckitt’s Blue laundry powder, charcoal and Grevillea robusta resin, incision into wall / Commissioned 2017 with funds from anonymous donors through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / © Dale Harding



Dale Harding is a descendant of the Bidjara, Ghungalu, and Garingbal peoples of Central and Western Queensland, who has gained recognition for works that examine the political and social histories of his family and community.

Through the use of diverse media, Harding’s practice conveys Indigenous histories with sensitivity and poetic reverence. Historical artefacts, ancient forms, and museum display strategies are just some of the primary reference points for Harding’s artworks.

For the past five years, Harding has realised many complex and large-scale projects in Australia and around the world. Now, Rockhampton will commission and acquire to the collection a large scale artwork by Harding for exhibition in the open exhibition program of the Rockhampton Museum of Art. Exhibiting in the Long Gallery, this major work will adorn the 30m long and 12m high wall, with breathtaking scale.

Harding’s practice is grounded in stories that continue the cultural lineages of Harding’s Bidjara, Ghungalu, and Garingbal ancestry. Some of Harding’s works involve stories from his maternal family line, and others draw on the techniques, tools, and iconography that are present in Carnarvon Gorge—a significant cultural site for Indigenous peoples of Central Queensland. Carnarvon Gorge is globally recognised for its rock art, where stencils in mouth-blown ochre on sandstone index bodies, weapons and tools, domestic life, and ceremonial objects.



Rockhampton Museum of Art is coming, due for completion in 2021. It will offer an expansive, community-integrated space. Large exhibitions usually confined to capital city galleries will be able to be exhibited in this new space.

The building is designed to flow into the surrounding precinct, connecting with East Street through what is envisaged to be an ever changing laneway that supports art-by-accident. The building’s design will allow our stunning Customs House to shine and will enable our nationally significant art collection to be on permanent display.

To support this significant building project Rockhampton Art Gallery Philanthropy Board has developed a donor program, Commissioning Collective 2021: Dale Harding to fund an artwork commission specifically designed to respond to, and be set within, Rockhampton Museum of Art.