Just Not Australian

Just Not Australian presents work by Australian artists at the forefront of national debate and practice. This exhibition brings together 20 artists across generations and diverse cultural backgrounds to deal broadly with the origins and implications of contemporary Australian nationhood. Showcasing the common sensibilities of satire, larrikinism and resistance so as to present a broad exploration of race, place and belonging, Just Not Australian interrogates what it means to be Australian at this challenging point in time.

Just Not Australian engages with the moral and ethical undertones of the loaded rejoinder ‘un- Australian’ – a pejorative now embedded in our national vocabulary that continues to be used to further political agendas and to spread nationalistic ideals of what it means to be Australian. Far from a simple comparison, a consideration of what’s not Australian ultimately leads to questions of what is, and the artists in Just Not Australian consider this in detail.

This exhibition begins its national tour from 2020 which marks the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s first voyage to Australia, a timely moment to interrogate Australia’s colonial history and the complexities of presenting and representing national identity.



Soda Jerk Jon Campbell Vincent Namatjira
Abdul Abdullah Karla Dickens Nell
Hoda Afshar Fiona Foley Joan Ross
Tony Albert Gordon Hookey Tony Schwensen
Cigdem Aydemir Richard Lewer Raquel Ormella
Liam Benson Archie Moore Ryan Presley
Eric Bridgeman



Artist to Artist: Liam Benson & Cigdem Aydemir Podcast

For more M&G NSW podcasts and to subscribe click here

Interview with Artist, Tony Albert – video by M&G NSW

Interview with Curator, Talia Linz – video by M&G NSW

Cultural Mediation

M&G NSW has developed a training pack accompanying the Just Not Australian tour which presents a package of resources collated and developed by Museums & Galleries of NSW, with contributions from Aneshka Mora, to assist tour venues, front-of-house staff, educators and volunteers navigate the themes, ideas and issues in the exhibition.

Cultural mediation can be engaged to translate the broad themes and manage the difficult conversations that this exhibition may ignite, as well as provide a vocabulary and further reading to encourage an inclusive and culturally safe space. You can read more about cultural mediation here and find more cultural mediation resources and videos here.




Tweed Regional Gallery and The Margaret Olley Arts Centre, NSW
18 September – 8 November 2020

Wollongong Art Gallery, NSW
21 November 2020 – 7 February 2021

Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, NSW
20 February – 5 April 2021

Maitland Regional Art Gallery. NSW
8 May – 1 August 2021

Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, NSW
14 August – 24 October 2021

NorthSite Contemporary Art Centre, QLD
5 November 2021 – 5 February 2022

Caboolture Regional Art Gallery, Moreton Bay, QLD
9 April – 18 June 2022

Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery, SA
2 July – 4 September 2022

Walkway Gallery, Bordertown, SA
17 September – 30 October 2022

New England Regional Art Museum, NSW
18 November 2022 – 29 January 2023


Museum of Sydney, Museums of History NSW
11 March – 4 June 2023

Watt Space Gallery, The University of Newcastle, NSW
23 September – 29 October, 2023



Interview with Soda Jerk, excerpted from the Just Not Australian catalogue

I Prefer Imagining, Just Not Australian catalogue essay, by Clothilde Bullen

Just Not Australian, Art Almanac, by Talia Smith

Just Not Australian, Art + Australia, by Chloe Jones

Just Not Australian, The Saturday Paper, by Lauren Carroll Harris

Artists can’t help swearing in Just Not Australian, Art Guide Australia, by Rebecca Shanahan

How artists are rethinking nationhood in turbulent times, by Gina Fairley, ArtsHub

Just Not Australian asks how we define and project our identity, on ABC RN, presented by Ed Ayres

Terror Nullius review, The Guardian by Luke Buckmaster

Soda Jerk: Terror Nullius, Artlink review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Soda Jerk’s Terror Nullius on ABC RN, The Hub on Screen presented by Jason Di Rosso

Soda Jerk in conversation on OCULA

‘Un-Australian’ and beyond, via thought-provoking art, Sydney Morning Herald by John McDonald

‘Just Not Australian’, a touring exhibition by Kirsty Francis in A Rich Life


Just Not Australian was curated by Artspace and developed in partnership with Sydney Festival and Museums & Galleries of NSW. The exhibition is touring nationally with Museums & Galleries of NSW. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.