Julie Rrap Awarded Major 2024 Melbourne Art Foundation Commission in Partnership with Art Gallery of Western Australia

Melbourne Art Foundation is thrilled to announce Julie Rrap represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery (Gadigal Country/Sydney), as the recipient of the $100,000 2024 Commission in partnership with the Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) and supported by Artwork Transport and Creative Australia

SOMOS (Standing On My Own Shoulders) is the 10th commission of the program and is set to be unveiled at the 17th iteration of Melbourne Art Fair.

Rrap, one of Australia’s most recognised female artists, is widely considered to have contributed to the foundations of contemporary feminist art in Australia. Working for over three decades with a range of different mediums, Rrap’s work challenges, subverts and reinterprets the definition of women and their image in surprising ways, often using her own nude body to do so.

The major work will respond to the Fair’s artistic program thematic – ketherba / together,SOMOS (Standing On My Own Shoulders), is a bronze life-size sculptural work that is a dynamic composition in which both casts of my body are caught in a moment of action as one figure appears to support the other on its shoulders,” said Julie Rrap. “While SOMOS echoes the “heroic” tradition of bronze figurative sculpture, it subverts that history by representing an older female body traditionally rendered invisible. This work strongly consolidates many of the concerns that have preoccupied me in my practice over the last 40 years and to have the opportunity to create SOMOS as a major work for this commission and the Art Gallery of Western Australia is a career highlight and one which will create an incredibly important conversation.”

After its unveiling at Melbourne Art Fair 2024, SOMOS will move to its permanent home in the AGWA collection.

Colin Walker, Director/CEO, Art Gallery of Western Australia said: “AGWA is incredibly excited to announce our partnership with the MAF to commission a major new sculptural work by Julie Rrap. Titled SOMOS (Standing On My Own Shoulders) it is literally that, a near life-size self portrait of the artist holding herself aloft. A work Rrap has been planning for many years, we couldn’t be more thrilled that the AGWA/MAF relationship has been able to support her longstanding vision. From her first exhibition in the early 1980s to now Rrap has proved herself to be one of Australian most important artists, known for her consistently compelling exploration of the nexus between gender and power, meaning and materials. Her first major piece in bronze, SOMOS will have a prominent place on AGWA’s rooftop alongside significant collection works including Chris Pease’s 34m long mural.”       

Roslyn Oxley, Director, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery said: “This fabulous new large-scale sculptural work represents a truly remarkable opportunity for Julie to delve further into her exploration of the female body, a theme that has been at the heart of her artistic practice for over four decades. Julie’s desire to bring ‘SOMOS (Standing On My Own Shoulders)’ to life has been a long-held aspiration, and I am eagerly anticipating the realisation of her vision. This daring bronze masterpiece will challenge established norms in the portrayal of the female body and ignite an essential conversation, making it yet another pivotal moment in Julie’s prolific career.” 

Established in 2006, the Melbourne Art Foundation Commission Program provides a living artist with a rare opportunity to realise an ambitious work for unveiling at Melbourne Art Fair, which is later gifted to a prominent Australian Institution.

Melbourne Art Fair returns in the Victorian Summer from 22-25 February 2024, bringing together 60 of the region’s leading galleries and Indigenous art centres, spanning 7,500sqm at the Denton Corker Marshall designed Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

First release tickets are currently on sale. Secure tickets here.