Creating a collection: James C Sourris AM


In recent years, Brisbane benefactor James C Sourris, AM, has been gathering an extensive collection of contemporary Australian art, focusing on the first decade of the twenty-first century and paying particular attention to Queensland artists.

The exhibition ‘Ten Years of Contemporary Art: The James C Sourris AM Collection’ (12 November 2011 – 19 February 2012) celebrated James C Sourris’ involvement with the Gallery and highlights the vital role benefaction has played in the development of the Gallery’s contemporary art Collection. The exhibition honours his sustained and generous support of the Gallery’s Collection with the exhibition comprising both Indigenous and non-Indigenous works, and a wide range of media including paintings, videos, installations and works on paper.

Julie Ewington is former Head of Australian Art, QAGOMA

The exhibition ‘Ten Years of Contemporary Art: The James C Sourris AM Collection’ (12 November 2011 – 19 February 2012)

‘The exhibition has really been a rewarding experience. There is no doubt the actual exhibition has been one of the crowning moments of my career.

My association with QAGOMA goes back over many, many years so I have an idea as to how much work and effort goes into the preparation of an exhibition. In preparing for ‘Ten Years of Contemporary Art’, I was introduced to many of the ‘back room’ team who worked on the exhibition. On reflection two words come to mind, ‘enthusiasm’ and ‘dedication’. Each time I left the Gallery after visiting I had the distinct impression that the collective feeling was ‘this collection is important and is something special.’ I am indeed indebted to all concerned who worked on the project.

Friends and colleagues as well as peers have been overwhelming in their praise for the exhibition, and in turn their friends have also relayed favourable impressions. In fact many of my friends and extended family had no idea of the extent of my interest and involvement in the arts.

I think one of the joys of this exhibition has been the exemplary selection of some of the finest pieces representing many of the best artists in Australia, and that today these are being seen together by the general public.

Even though the exhibition is now closed, more contemporary works will be acquired. This means that more major works by senior career artists, mid-career artists, emerging artists, community Indigenous and urban Indigenous Australian artists, and video artists will become part of the Collection over time.’

James C. Sourris AM
February 2012

Tony Albert, Girramay people, Australia b.1981 / Sorry 2008 / Found kitsch objects applied to vinyl letters / 99 objects: 200 x 510 x 10cm (installed) / The James C Sourris, AM, Collection. Purchased 2008 with funds from James C Sourris through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Tony Albert
Vernon Ah Kee, Kuku Yalanji/Waanyi/Yidinyji/Guugu Yimithirr people, Australia b.1967 / neither pride nor courage 2006 / Charcoal, crayon and synthetic polymer paint on canvas / Triptych: 174 x 240cm (each panel) / The James C. Sourris AM Collection. Gift of James C. Sourris through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2007. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Vernon Ah Kee
Julie Ewington and James C. Sourris AM share insights and thoughts on ‘Ten Years of Contemporary Art: The James C Sourris, AM Collection’ / Photography: B Standen © QAGOMA

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  1. It was certainly worth flying up to QAG/GOMA with family and friends to view, at leisure, the James C Sourris AM Collection .

    If the Collection comes nearer to you in future, ” don’t miss it ” !