In the early 1970s NAB began to acquire Australian artworks that celebrated the diversity and depth of modern Australian artistic vision. Over the decades NAB’s collection has given art appreciators a unique glimpse into some of the very best examples of our country’s contemporary art.
In that time, NAB has accrued more than 2,000 artworks. The majority of the collection is held in Australia and includes works from some the country’s most recognised artists including Frederick McCubbin, Sidney Nolan, Arthur Streeton and John Brack. Some of them are quite historically significant, but they are not significant to NAB’s history.
While the art is appreciated, it is clearly not core to NAB’s role as a bank and supporting customers. Earlier this year NAB decided to sell the vast majority of the Australian art collection and reinvest funds back into the community via the NAB Foundation.
This builds on the NAB Ready Together program to support Australians before, during and after natural disasters.
All proceeds of the sale will be donated to the NAB Foundation supporting community grants that help prepare people, communities and our environment for natural disasters, and support long-term recovery and resilience work.
Supporting the community
NAB Group Chief Operating Officer, Les Matheson said the proceeds would support community organisations doing outstanding work.
“We’re constantly driven to find new ways to help our customers and communities prosper. Proceeds from this sale will go back into the community, helping the NAB Foundation provide grants over coming years. At a time when Australia’s climate is changing, communities and the environment face increased risk from natural disasters, these funds will allow us to do even more to help,” Mr Matheson said.
“Every summer we are confronted by images of towns impacted by these events and we wanted to be able to do more and we felt like this was a practical and appropriate way that we could do that.”
Since 2008, the NAB Foundation has contributed more than $13.6 million to positive social change programs, including 1300KOALAZ a group of dedicated Volunteer Koala Carers and Rescuers in South Australia.
1300KOALAZ CEO, Cheryl Zampin said donations from the NAB Foundation have assisted their team in efficiently preparing for natural disasters so they can start their environmental assessments and outreach programs as soon as the disaster itself has subsided.
“Before a natural disaster strikes, we need to be ready. Volunteer organisations like us rely on grants. Even long after a disaster, the community continues to feel the impacts. The NAB Foundation Community Grants help communities access the support they need, before, during and after a natural disaster,” Ms Zampin said.
“By redirecting these profits into the NAB Foundation, the funds will contribute to the Foundation’s grant programs to further safeguard local and regional communities and fund projects that will support our economic recovery and ensure Australia is more prepared for natural disasters and climate change,” Mr Matheson said.
Rural Health Connect is another recent beneficiary of a NAB Foundation Community Grant, helping them further their crucial work of providing an online platform that links people in rural Australia to psychologists over video and phone calls, helping to manage the impacts of natural disasters and isolation.
“We hope this work will help the communities and customers we serve and make a real difference at a critical time for the nation’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and the extreme bushfire and weather events of 2020,” Mr Matheson said.
While much of NAB’s current art collection will be sold, the bank will retain a small number of pieces that have extra significance or hold a special place in the institution’s history as part of NAB’s heritage collection. This includes two Archibald Prize winning portraits of former bank executives.
Auctioneers Leonard Joel and Deutscher and Hackett in Melbourne will facilitate the public auctions on February 22 and 23 2022.
Public previews also set to take place next year in Sydney from February 9-13 and in Melbourne from February 16-21.