Awakening Objects and Indigenizing the Museum: Stephen Gilchrist in Conversation with Henry F. Skerritt


  • Stephen Gilchrist University of Sydney
  • Henry Skerritt University of Pittsburgh



Curation, Indigenous Curatorial Practice, Museum Studies, Contemporary Art, Indigneous Art, Decolonization


Curated by Stephen Gilchrist, Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art from Australia was held at Harvard Art Museums from February 5, 2016–September 18, 2016. The exhibition was a survey of contemporary Indigenous art from Australia, exploring the ways in which time is embedded within Indigenous artistic, social, historical, and philosophical life. The exhibition included more than seventy works drawn from public and private collections in Australia and the United States, and featured many works that have never been seen outside Australia. Everywhen is Gilchrist’s second major exhibition in the United States, following Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art in 2012. Conducted on April 22, 2016, this conversation considers the position of Indigenous art in the museum, and the active ways in which curators and institutions can work to “indigenize” their institutions. Gilchrist discusses the evolution of Everywhen, along with the curatorial strategies employed to change the status of object-viewer relations in the exhibition. The transcription has been edited for clarity.

Author Biographies

Stephen Gilchrist, University of Sydney

Belonging to the Yamatji people of northwest Western Australia, Stephen Gilchrist is Associate Lecturer of Indigenous Art at the University of Sydney. He was the Australian Studies Visiting Curator at the Harvard Art Museums where he curated Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art from Australia.

Henry Skerritt, University of Pittsburgh

Henry F. Skerritt is curator of Indigenous art of Australia at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, University of Virginia. Skerritt is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. 




How to Cite

Gilchrist, S., & Skerritt, H. (2016). Awakening Objects and Indigenizing the Museum: Stephen Gilchrist in Conversation with Henry F. Skerritt. Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture, 5(1), 108–121.