Tuesday, 02 July 2024

Dinner for Rhana Devenport

I am pleased to welcome you to Government House this evening to celebrate Rhana’s leadership of the Art Gallery of South Australia, and to wish her well for the future.

Rhana, you came to Adelaide having worked at the distinguished Queensland Art Gallery, and with extensive leadership experience in two of New Zealand’s finest galleries.

You also brought a list of impressive achievements, including curation of work in the 2019 Venice Biennale.

The first woman to lead to the Art Gallery of SA, you have made an important contribution to the advancement of women in the arts in our state.

We have witnessed you handle the considerable challenges of the past six years and make the most of the opportunities they presented, such as the pandemic, during which AGSA reached the top 100 galleries most visited in the world.

I congratulate you on the landmark exhibitions of your tenure, notably the 2023 exhibition Frida & Diego: Love & Revolution, which became the gallery’s most successful ticketed exhibition in decades; the critically acclaimed Clarice Beckett exhibition, and Tarnanthi’s growth in audience and sales.

I thank you for your support of Government House, including the artworks on loan from the gallery which feature throughout our public and private rooms.

Your support, as well as the diligent work of curator Lisa Slade, enabled us to assemble a collection which is reflective of South Australia’s history, heritage and contemporary life, while also looking outward to our nation and the world.

Additionally, the collection positions works by indigenous and non-indigenous artists together, creating a dynamic conversation about landscape, culture and our nation’s heritage.

Unsurprisingly, the artworks are a source of great interest and enjoyment to the thousands of visitors we receive each year.

During your tenure, Government House has been pleased to host Biennial Ambassadors’ Dinner, in 2022 and 2024.

Rod and I enjoyed visiting both biennial exhibitions, the exhibitions I have mentioned previously as well as many others.

Rhana, on behalf of the people of South Australia, I thank you for your visionary leadership of our state’s flagship visual arts institution.

I look forward to following your future work and wish you all the best for new opportunities in Sydney.

Coming events