Tony Ellwood honoured as a leader in the arts

Tony Ellwood honoured as a leader in the arts

National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Director Tony Ellwood AM was presented with an Honorary Doctorate at the RMIT graduation ceremony today.

Ellwood received a Doctor of Arts honoris causa in recognition of his leadership in Australian arts for more than 30 years.

After beginning his career as an Aboriginal art coordinator, Ellwood went on to roles at notable galleries including the NGV, Bendigo Art Gallery, Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art, overseeing significant exhibitions over the past decade in particular, including The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier (2014) and the inaugural NGV Triennial (2017-18).

RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President Martin Bean CBE said Ellwood had shown a passion for shaping the world, and our communities, for the better through his work.

“Under Tony’s stewardship, the National Gallery of Victoria has become the most visited gallery in Australia,” he said.

“Tony is unafraid to test boundaries, and through a series of blockbuster exhibitions, he has made the NGV an exciting and accessible part of the community.

“We are pleased to recognise Tony’s impact, which also highlights the merging of technology with art and design.”

L-R: RMIT Chancellor Ziggy Switkowski AO, City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp and RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President Martin Bean CBE walk together following the iconic RMIT graduand parade

Ellwood said he was honoured to be recognised by a university that shared his values of being adaptive, passionate, people-focused and not being afraid to take a risk.

“To be an alumnus of RMIT is to be in a class of leaders and innovators,” he said.

“When I graduated and started to embark on an artistic career many people close to me told me it would lead to nothing. 

“Do it as a hobby” should be the title of just about every creative person’s biography of my generation. But creative people today are in high demand and will be critical for Australia’s future growth and global success.”

In his speech, Ellwood encouraged RMIT’s graduate class of 2018 to remain open to all opportunities and never fear taking risks.

“Being adaptable and willing to expand beyond known or accepted boundaries will be the key to many future careers,” he said.

“The greatest innovators are people who have been prepared to think beyond the mainstream.”

Ellwood became Director of the National Gallery of Victoria in August 2012 and has served on several state and commonwealth boards. He was also on the selection committees for the 2005 and 2009 Venice Biennales.

Ellwood was appointed as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2018.

12 December 2018

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12 December 2018

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