Dr Brenda L Croft

Doctor of Philosophy, UNSW (2021); Honorary Doctorate (Visual Arts), University of Sydney (2009); Alumni Award, UNSW (2001); Master of Art Administration, UNSW (1995)
Associate Professor, Indigenous Art History & Curatorship, Centre for Art History and Art Theory, ANU School of Art and Design
College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Visual Arts And Crafts 1905
  • Lens Based Practice 190503
  • Performance And Installation Art 190504
  • Performing Arts And Creative Writing 1904
  • Other Studies In Creative Arts And Writing 1999

Research interests

Australian First Nations' contemporary visual arts and culture; international First Nations' contemporary visual arts and culture; critical Indigenous performative auto-ethnography, Indigenous Storying and Indigenous Knowledges; creative-led research; cultural representation and identity; re/memorying, memorialisation; personal and public archives and access


Brenda L Croft is from the Gurindji/Malngin/Mudburra peoples from the Victoria River region of the Northern Territory of Australia, and also has Anglo-Australian/German/Irish/Chinese heritage. Brenda is Associate Professor, Indigenous Art History and Curatorship, Centre for Art History and Art Theory, College of Arts & Social Sciences, ANU. 

Brenda’s cross-disciplinary practice-led research encompasses critical performative Indigenous auto-ethnography, representation and identity, Indigenous Storying and creative narratives, installation, multi-media and multi-platform work, personal and public archives, memory and memorialisation.

Brenda has a long-standing engagement with patrilineal family and community members, both on traditional homelands and also as part of dispossessed, Gurindji-affiliated communities. Her doctoral research project Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality, a collaborative exhibition with Karungkarni Art & Culture Aboriginal Corporation, UNSW Galleries, UNSW Art & Design and UQ Art Museum, commences a national tour from September 2018, through to 2021.

Brenda's work is represented in major public collections in Australia and overseas and private collections. In addition to working with the ANU she is a practising artist, independent writer and consultant. Brenda is also an Adjunct Fellow with the National Institute for Experimental Arts, UNSW Art & Design Australia, where she is completing her doctoral research.

Brenda is co-leading (with Dr Chris Sainsbury & Professor Kim Cunio, School of Music, & Professor Jamie Pittock, Fenner School of Environment & Society) the ANU Grand Challenges: Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Collaborative Scheme project Murrudha: Sovereign walks - tracking cultural actions through art, Country, language and music (2020 - 2025). The team will be working in close partnership with local and regional Traditional Custodians on a number of interlinked concepts associated with Murrudha throughout this period and into the future.

Brenda is also affiliated with the following organisations and projects:

  • ACT Us Mob Writers (First Nations Australia Writers Network) member (2018 -)
  • ARC Centre of Excellence for The Dynamics of Language (CoEDL), Affiliate (2017 -)
  • Indigenous Australian Dictionary of Biography, Indigenous Working Party member (2019 - )
  • Research Centre for Deep History, School of History, Research School of Social Sciences, ANU, Collaborating Scholar (2020 - ) 
  • Murrudha: Sovereign Walks - tracking cultural actions through art, Country, language and music, ANU Grand Challenges: Indigenous Health and Wellbeing 2019 Collaborative Scheme; Leadership Team Member (2020 - )

Researcher's projects

Artistic/curatorial practice-led research, selected

Artistic practice, selected

  • 2020- 21: Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now, National Gallery of Australia, 14 November - 4 July, https://nga.gov.au/exhibitions/knowmyname/; https://knowmyname.nga.gov.au/artists/brenda-croft/https://theconversation.com/beauty-and-audacity-know-my-name-presents-a-new-female-story-of-australian-art-150139
  • 2020 - 21: Seeing Canberra, Canberra Museum and Art Gallery, 7 March - 17 July
  • 2020: National Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, 6 March - 27 September
  • 2019: hand/made/held/ground, Niagara Galleries, Melbourne, 19 November - 14 December, https://www.niagara-galleries.com.au/exhibitions/item/375-brenda-l-croft-hand-made-held-ground-2019
  • 2018: Hindmarsh Prize, Canberra Glassworks, 21 - 30 September, Fitters Workshop, Kingston; Toyama Art Glass Museum, Japanm 26 October to 4 November 2018, shortlisted artist, https://www.hindmarshprize.com.au/2018-shortlisted-artists/ 
  • 2018: Head-to-Head: Shifting Perspectives in Australian portraiture, Flinders University Art Museum, 26 April – 24 June
  • 2018: Genius loci, group exhibition, Canberra Glassworks, 4 April - 3 June
  • 2017 - 18: Tell: Ballarat International Foto Biennale, 19 August – 17 September, The Mining Exchange, Ballarat, Vic, touring 2018
  • 2017 - 18: The Boomalli Ten: Boomalli 30th anniversary exhibition, Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative, Sydney, 3 Nov – 28 January
  • 2017: Honouring Cultures: ACT Arts Residency, 4 – 29 September, Canberra Glassworks
  • 2017: Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, 26 May – 10 September
  • 2016 - 18: Resolution: contemporary Indigenous photography, National Gallery of Australia touring exhibition
  • 2016: subalter/N/ative dreams, solo exhibition, doctoral research, Stills Gallery, Sydney, 27 July - 27 August
  • 2016: Sea of Hands: 20th anniversary, commision, Barangaroo Cultural Precinct, May 27 - 3 June
  • 2013: Brenda L Croft, survey exhibition, Yiribana Gallery, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, 6 Apr – 15 October
  • 2013: Thicker than water, group exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Native American Art, Santa Fe, USA
  • 2012 - 13: Shadowlife, Asialink/Bendigo Art Gallery touring exhibition, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Thailand; Australia
  • 2009 - 10: Homeland (Heimat), CACSA (Contemporary Art Space of South Australia), Adelaide; CACSA Projects 2010, Institute of Contemporary Arts, LaSalle College of the Arts, Singapore
  • 2009: She’ll be right mate: strangers in a strange land, solo exhibition, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
  • 2005 - 6: Peripheral Vision, solo exhibition, Artplace, Perth; Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
  • 2003 - 4: Man about town, solo exhibition, Artplace, Perth; Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
  • 2000: Wuganmagulya (Farm Cove), Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Sculpture Walk, City of Sydney commission
  • 1998: In my mother's garden, solo exhibition, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
  • 1998: In My Father's House, solo exhibition, The Australian Centre for Photography with Boomalli Aboriginal Artists' Co-operative, Sydney 
  • 1994: Strange Fruit, solo exhibition, The Performance Space with Boomalli Aboriginal Artists' Co-operative, Redfern, Sydney
  • 1993: The Big Deal is Black, solo exhibition, The Australian Centre for Photography with Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative, Paddington, Sydney

Curatorial practice, selected

  • 2017: Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality, in partnership with UNSW Galleries, UNSW Art + Design; University of Queensland Art Museum; Karungkarni Art + Culture Aboriginal Corporation; with support from the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language. National tour (2018 - 2022) supported by Visions of Australia and Artback NT Touring Agency
  • 2017: A Change is Gonna Come: 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and 25th anniversary of the Mabo Decision, National Museum of Australia
  • 2015: Welcome to WonderLand, UNSW Galleries, UNSW Art & Design, curatorial advisor
  • 2011: Stop(the)gap: international Indigenous art in motion, Adelaide International Film Festival, Anne and Gordon Samstag Art Museum, UniSA. Lead curator with Kathleen Ash-Milby (USA), David Garneau (Canada) and Megan Tamati-Quennell (Aoteoroa/NZ)
  • 2007 - 9: Culture Warriors: inaugural National Indigenous Art Award, National Gallery of Australia, and national tour, 2008; international tour to Katzen Art Center, American University, Washington, DC, USA, 2009
  • 2006 - 8: Sights unseen: Michael Riley, National Gallery of Australia and national tour
  • 2002 - 6: Australian Indigenous Art Commission, Musée du quai Branly, Paris France. Co-curator with Hetti Perkins
  • 2003: Southwest/Central: Indigenous art from southwestern Australia, 1833 - 2002, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth International Arts Festival
  • 2000: Beyond the pale: contemporary Indigenous art, Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Galler of South Australia, Adelaide Festival of the Arts 
  • 1997 - 9: fluent: Yvonne Koolmatrie, Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Judy Watson, Australian Pavilion, 47th Venice Biennale, Italy. National tour, Australia. Co-curated with Hetti Perkins and Victoria Lynn 


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