Melbourne Art Fair



Physically, temporally, and psychically bound, our sense of place is mercurial by nature. It shifts, expands, and contracts, becoming a synthesis of all that has preceded and all that is yet to arrive. Between ‘place’ and ‘djeembana’ is a lacuna in language. Direct translation fails. Djeembana, a word of the Boon Wurrung, is a place for community; a meeting point for the exchange of stories, rituals and knowledge. 

When we speak of place, we look to invoke that which djeembana signifies. Serving as the Fair’s thematic for 2022, ‘djeembana’ and ‘place’ will, together, through a contemporary art lens, address our sense of place in an increasingly unsustainable, globalised world. Melbourne Art Fair will command its programming to function as a locus for intersecting perceptions relevant to the current moment with careful examination of issues pertinent to both the local and global.

Recent tumult – social, ecological, and political – has caused an irrevocable shift in our sense of place, challenging established assumptions of known places and our role within them. The need for new frameworks to comprehend underlying histories as well as the complexities of the present is urgent.

Advocating for contemporary art as a force for social change, Melbourne Art Fair believes in the power of ideas to surface salient issues of our time. Privileging underrepresented voices, Melbourne Art Fair will serve as a meeting point for community – artists, curators, collectors and patrons alike – to redefine and deepen relationships to place as individuals and as collectives.

We thank N’arweet Carolyn Briggs AM, Chair of the Boonwurrung Foundation and writer of the Boonwurrung language, for her consent to the use of the word Djeembana, which means ‘community’, in her authority as recognised Elder, Traditional Owner and linguist.


Kaylene Whiskey in her studio, recipient of the Melbourne Art Foundation 2022 Commission in partnership with ACMI. Photo courtesy of Iwantja Arts, photographer: Meg Hansen.

Established in 2006, the Melbourne Art Foundation Commission program provides a living artist with a rare opportunity to realise a large-scale work for unveiling at Melbourne Art Fair, which is later gifted to a prominent Australian institution. 

Melbourne Art Foundation and Australia’s national museum of screen culture, ACMI, are proud to announce Kaylene Whiskey as the recipient of the Melbourne Art Foundation 2022 Commission, supported by Artwork Transport and Panasonic.  Whiskey’s new  video work will be the ninth commission of the 15-year program.

Previous partners in the program have include HOTA Gallery, Bendigo Art Gallery, NGV, QAGOMA, the University of Queensland Art Museum, MCA, Art Gallery of South Australia, National Gallery of Australia; and artists Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Ronnie van Hout, Michael Parekowhai, David Griggs, Peter Hennessey, Jon Campbell, Ian Burns, and Mikala Dwyer.


Sean Meilak, installation view. Courtesy the artist and Niagara Galleries, Naarm/Melbourne.

Making its debut at Melbourne Art Fair in 2022, BEYOND harnesses the monumental exhibition spaces within the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre to present six large-scale installations and spatial interventions that respond to the theme djeembana/place. BEYOND is curated by independent curator and writer, Emily Cormack. Melbourne Art Foundation supports the inaugural sector by providing a monetary grant to participating Beyond galleries. 

beyond 2022 participating artists

CAROLINE ROTHWELL, presented by Tolarno Galleries (Naarm/Melbourne)

MATT ARBUCKLE, presented by Daine Singer (Naarm/Melbourne)

MAREE CLARKE, presented by Vivien Anderson (Naarm/Melbourne)

NABILAH NORDIN, presented by Neon Parc (Naarm/Melbourne)

SALLY SMART, presented by Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert (Gadigal Country/Sydney)

SEAN MEILAK, presented by Niagara Galleries (Naarm/Melbourne)


Hiromi Tango, Lizard Tail 2018. Commissioned by MLC Life Insurance. Melbourne Art Fair 2018.

Presented by Glenfiddich, LIVE is an onsite/offsite performance and sound art program captivating the imagination of the artworld and art loving public. Aligned with Glenfiddich’s maverick DNA, the inaugural program celebrates trailblazers featuring Australia’s most boundary-pushing artists with critically significant performances both at the Fair and across the city.


Sriwhana Spong, 'This Creature', 2016 Single-channel HD video with audio 14 minutes, 55 seconds. Artist represented by Michael Lett, Auckland. Melbourne Art Fair 2018.

Dedicated to the presentation of moving-image art from new and iconic international contemporary artists, VIDEO is curated by Nina Miall, Curator International Art at QAGOMA. The fair welcomes for the first time participation from international galleries unable to physically exhibit within the main show sector, enabling dealers from across the globe to maintain a connection with Australasia’s active and growing collector-base during the ongoing pandemic.


Melbourne Art Fair 2018 Project Room: Gertrude Contemporary (Naarm/Melbourne).

A non-commercial platform for experimentation, in 2022 PROJECT ROOMS welcomes Gertrude Contemporary (Naarm/Melbourne) and LAST Collective (Naarm/Melbourne) with the presentation of artists that push the boundaries of artistic practice with performance and multi-media works.


Melbourne Art Fair 2018 Keynote.

Conversations is a platform for dialogue and the sharing of ideas, bringing together cultural communities and thinkers from across the creative spectrum. The aim: to address the future of art and the contemporary world through a series of talks and panels featuring artists, gallerists, curators, collectors, architects, critics, and cultural luminaries. Conversations will be developed by a Curatorium led by Melissa Bianca Amore, art critic, curator, contemporary philosopher, and Co-Founding Director of Re-Sited based in New York and Naarm/Melbourne.

Melbourne Art Fair acknowledges the Traditional Owners, the Wurundijeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, on whose land we will meet, share, and work. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People from all nations of this land.

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