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Rite of Passage

QUT Art Museum is temporarily closed, however you can still experience this exhibition by taking our interactive virtual tour

QUT is committed to the health and safety of our community. In response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, QUT Art Museum and the William Robinson Gallery are temporarily closed until further notice.

In the meantime, you can experience our current exhibitions by taking interactive virtual tours of Rite of Passage and William Robinson: Elixir of Light.

Stay tuned as we work to deliver new ways for the public to engage with our exhibitions, art collection and ideas.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

A rite of passage is an event that marks an important stage in someone's life, or death – a transition. During a time not so long ago, the Aboriginal population of this country transitioned from a free civilisation to a nation conquered. In the process, thousands of years of ecological and spiritual power and cultural knowledge were diminished, and many customs and traditions of our original people were lacerated – with many lost forever.

Shannon Brett

Rite of Passage is a group exhibition curated by Shannon Brett, a descendant of the Wakka Wakka, Butchulla and Gurang Gurang clans, as a response to the significance of the year 2020 – 250 years since James Cook first arrived on our shores.

Reframing the way that we perceive this year in our history, the exhibition showcases the strength of autobiographical work by eleven contemporary Aboriginal artists from across Australia: Glennys Briggs, Megan Cope, Nici Cumpston, Karla Dickens, Julie Gough, Lola Greeno, Leah King-Smith, Jenna Lee, Carol McGregor, Mandy Quadrio, and Judy Watson.

The exhibition reveals how these artists define themselves as voices of their families and their ancestors in their quest to preserve their Aboriginality. Fearless and relentless, these artists carry the fire of a culture that lives on, as the passage that they travel is no longer solitary – together they pave the way for tomorrow.

Karla Dickens, 'Unspoken'. A poem written and recited by the artist.

Karla Dickens, 'Lost milk'. A poem written and recited by the artist.

Karla Dickens, 'Dark Secrets'. A poem written and recited by the artist.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Warning

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences should be aware that this exhibition contains names and images of deceased people.

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Installation gallery

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Nici CUMPSTON 'Listening to the river' 2005-19

Opening Day

Rite of Passage

Saturday 7 March

Julie GOUGH 'Crime scene (survivor)' (detail) 2019-20

Entangled histories

artist talk with Julie Gough

Sunday 8 March

Jenna LEE 'un/bound passage' (detail) 2019


workshop with Jenna Lee

Sunday 8 March

Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman

Texta book club

Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman

Tuesday 5 May

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QUT acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands where QUT now stands