A $40,000 Museums & Galleries of NSW Dobell Exhibition grant will enable the Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG) to host the prestigious Shadow Boxer next year.
The highly sought-after exhibit, scheduled for May 2021, highlights the long-standing connection between art and boxing, showcasing the work of contemporary Australian artists who explore ideas of race, gender, class and the sheer physicality of the sport alongside the exploration of Maitland’s own boxing legacy.
A panel of judges assessed the application and unanimously opted to award the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation grant to the MRAG.
The decision was based on the diversity of artists and media; as well as the strong link with Maitland’s collection of art and boxing memorabilia.
“This is an exhibition that connects so many interesting ideas about art and sport,” MRAG director Gerry Bobsien said.
“It gives us the opportunity to show some of the works in our Les Darcy collection in a new way alongside contemporary artists and writers who all share a fascination with the cultural and sporting legacy of boxing.
“We are thrilled that Museums & Galleries of NSW has recognised the ambition and community engagement embedded in this exhibition.”
MRAG will present diverse public programming to engage a broad audience of sport lovers, art lovers and newcomers to contemporary art.
Programs include drawing workshops with Richard Lewer; a series of talks in the gallery in a boxing ring designed for lively discussion where contestants will spar verbally; a filmed conversation between Ms Bobsien and UK-based writer David Matthews; boxing workshops with Bianca ‘BAM BAM’ Elmir; adult drawing workshops with a professional boxer as a model; and an artist talk by AFL head photographer Michael Willson, who drew wide media attention in 2019 with his iconic image of AFLW star Tayla Harris in mid-flight.