UNSW Art & Design, National Institute for Experimental Art
Brenda L Croft is a member of the Gurindji/Malngin/Mudpurra/Bilinara peoples from the Northern Territory of Australia, and Anglo-Australian/German/Irish heritage. Croft has been involved in the contemporary arts and cultural sectors for three decades as an artist, arts administrator, curator, academic and consultant. A founding member of Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative, established in 1987 by ten Sydney-based contemporary Indigenous artists, Croft was also General Manager from 1990 - 96.
Major bodies of work include Family Album (1991) in Kudjeris at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative, outcome of the first journey home to Kalkarindji and Daguragu; Strange Fruit (1994), Croft’s first significant conceptual series; In My Father’s House, and In my mother’s garden (1998), west/ward/bound (1999), Man about town (2003) and Peripheral vision 2005). Significant collaborations have included working with renowned international conceptual artist and theorist Adrian Piper on Conference Call for the Biennale of Sydney (1992), later shown at Camerawork Gallery, London, UK (1994); and undertaking a residency with Cree/Métis conceptual/multi-disciplinary artist, Cheryl L’Hirondelle at Bundanon Trust, NSW (2013).
From 1999 - 2001 Croft was Curator of Indigenous Art at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. From 2002 - 09 Croft was Senior Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the National Gallery of Australia, during which time she established the National Indigenous Art Triennial, with Culture Warriors, the inaugural NIAT held in 2007. In 2009 a condensed version of Culture Warriors toured to the the Katzen Art Center, American University, Washington, USA, with Croft participating in associated public programs.
Independent curatorial projects have included: (1997) co-curator, with Hetti Perkins (Eastern Arrernte/Kalkadoon peoples), fluent: Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Yvonne Koolmatrie & Judy Watson, Australia's representation at the 47th Venice Biennale, later touring Australia; (2000) curator, Beyond the pale: contemporary Indigenous art, Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, 2000 Adelaide Festival of the Arts; and (2011) Lead curator Stop(the)gap: international Indigenous art in motion, commissioned for the 2011 Bigpond Adelaid International Film Festival, with curatorial advisors Kathleen Ash-Milby, USA, David Garneau (Canada) and Megan Tamati-Quennell (Aotearoa/NZ).
From 2009 – 12 Croft was lecturer of Indigenous art, culture and design at the University of South Australia. In 1998 Croft was lecturer of Indigenous Visual Culture at the Canberra School of Art, Australian National University. Croft has presented lectures at tertiary institutions throughout Australia and internationally since the early 1990s.
Awarded a Master of Art Administration from the University of New South Wales in 1995, Croft received an Alumni Award from UNSW in 2001. In 2009 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Visual Arts from the University of Sydney. In 2011 Croft was awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery Indigenous Award 2012 and is undertaking her PhD at the National Institute for Experimental Art, College of Fine Arts, UNSW, where she has been Senior Research Fellow since March 2012.