Just as NCCA (the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, formerly known as 24HR Art) undergoes a re-branding, it also sees Maurice O’Riordan stepping into the role as new Director, with the departure of Steve Eland last month who held the Directorship for the past 7 years.
For O’Riordan, a fine arts graduate from the Australian National University and current editor of Art Monthly Australia magazine, the Director role signals his return to Darwin where he first cut his teeth as an arts writer in the early 1990s, often writing about 24HR Art/NCCA exhibitions and events. Since that time O’Riordan has gained a wide breadth of experience in the arts – as a writer, curator, publicist and arts manager.
‘I’m looking forwarding to getting stuck into this role’, O’Riordan said. ‘I think Darwin and the NT have a lot to offer in terms of the visual arts. Some of it has had good exposure but there’s a lot of untapped talent out there and there are always new connections to be made.’
O’Riordan also appreciates the timing of his appointment, coinciding with 24HR Art’s re-branding as NCCA, the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art. ‘It may take some getting used to’, he says, ‘as a lot of people have long histories and positive attachments to the ‘24hr Art’ name. But I think it’s a good, even necessary change. The “Northern” descriptor is not just about being in the Northern Territory but about the centre’s strategic outlook, where ‘Northern’ is also about engaging across the whole of the Top End and with Asia, particularly Southeast Asia.’
Clare Martin, current Chair of the NCCA Board, congratulated Eland on his longstanding term as Director: ‘Steve has done remarkably well to strengthen NCCA in terms of its national, professional standing and in its strategic vision’, she said. ‘Steve was particularly active in forging artistic exchanges with our Indonesian neighbours, and with China’, said Martin, describing the value of such exchanges in terms of ‘the increased opportunities and audiences for NT artists as well as enriching our view of, and sense of place in, the region’.
‘NCCA wishes Steve all the best in his next endeavour as we embark on our own new chapter’, Martin said.
O’Riordan has already commenced the Director role part-time, and will move into it full-time at the beginning of 2014.
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