Artist BIOGRAPHY of Ryan Presley
Dr. Ryan Presley was born in 1987 in Alice Springs, and currently lives and works in Brisbane. His father’s family is Marri Ngarr and originate from the Moyle River region in the Northern Territory. His mother’s family were Scandinavian immigrants to Australia. Presley’s practice wrestles with themes of power and dominion—in particular, how religion and economic control served colonialism and empire building over time, and the representation of its customs and edifices in our everyday lives.
Presley’s work has been included in: Hungry for Time, Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna (2021); Just Not Australian, Artspace (2019); Trade Markings (Frontier Imaginaries Ed No. 5), Van Abbemuseum, Netherlands (2018); the 33rd Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, Darwin; and the TarraWarra Biennial: Endless Circulation (both 2016).
His recent major solo exhibition, Fresh Hell, was co-commissioned by Adelaide Contemporary Experimental and Gertrude Contemporary in 2022. His work is held in public collections, which include the Museum of Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of South Australia, and the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art. Presley completed a PhD through Griffith University, in 2016

Presley is represented by Milani Gallery
Artist Curriculum Vitae of Ryan Presley
Academic Qualifications
2013 – 2016    Doctor of Philosophy with Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship
2009 – 2010    Bachelor of Fine Art with Honours – First Class Honours
2007 – 2009    Bachelor of Visual Arts – Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art

Solo Exhibitions
2024    ‘Mongrel', Cairns Art Gallery, Queensland
2023    ‘Fresh Hell', Gertrude Contemporary, Victoria (co-commission)
2022    ‘Fresh Hell', ACE Gallery, Adelaide, South Australia (co-commission)
2022    ‘INFERNO’, Milani Gallery, Brisbane
2018    ‘For What It’s Worth (Not For Sale)’, Tweed Regional Art Gallery, New South Wales
2018    ‘Prosperity’, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Queensland
2017    ‘Terror Island (Wish You Were Here)’, Boxcopy Contemporary Art Space, Brisbane
2016    ‘Themesong’, Webb Gallery, Queensland College of Art, Brisbane, Queensland
2014    ‘Lesser Gods’, Metro Arts, Brisbane, Queensland
2014    ‘Lesser Gods’, Next Wave Festival, No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria
2014    ‘Lesser Gods’, Human Rights and Art and Film Festival, No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne
2012    ‘The Good Earth’, Jan Manton Art, Brisbane
2011    ‘Blood Money’, Jan Manton Art, Brisbane

Selected Group Exhibitions
2024    'The Gold Award’, Rockhampton Museum of Art, Australia (High Commendation)
2023    'Get me out!’, Caboolture Regional Art Gallery, Australia
2023    ‘Archibald Prize’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (Touring nationally until late 2024)
2022    ‘Bodies of Knowledge’, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
2021    ‘Hungry for Time: An invitation to epistemic disobedience with Raqs Media Collective, in the Art Collections of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna’, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria 
2021    ‘We Change the World’, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
2021    ‘No Place Like Home’, MONA FOMA Festival, Hobart, MONA
2020    ‘Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award’, MAGNT, Darwin
2020    ’PEEK: A Partial View of the Murdoch University Art Collection’, Parliament House, Perth
2020    ’First’, Redcliffe Art Gallery, Moreton Bay, Queensland
2020    ‘John Fries Award', UNSW Galleries, Sydney, Australia
2019   ‘Tarnanthi Festival 2019’, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
2019    ’15 Artists’, Redcliffe Art Gallery, Moreton Bay, Queensland (Winner)
2019    ‘No Black Seas’, Tarnanthi Festival 2019, ACE Open, Adelaide (Mentor Artist)
2019    ‘Stopping Time: Material Prints 3000BCE to Now’, Gympie Regional Gallery (Touring)
2019    ‘In Put/Print Out: Cicada Press Prints’, Megalo Print Studio + Gallery, Canberra
2019    ‘Collection Spotlight: Blood Money’, Reserve Bank Museum, Reserve Bank Australia
2019    ‘QUEEN’S LAND: Black portraiture’, Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns, Australia (Commissioned)
2019    ‘Land & Labour Thematic’, Australian Art Collection, Queensland Art Gallery, Australia (Collection Hang)
2019    ‘Just Not Australian’, Artspace, Sydney, Australia
2018    ‘Primavera: Young Australian Artists’, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia
2018    ‘Lucky?’, Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, Victoria, Australia
2018    ‘Trademarkings (Frontier Imaginaries Ed. No. 5)’, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands
2017    ‘The Standard Length of a Miracle’, by Goldin+Senneby, Institute of Modern Art (Collaborator)
2017    ‘Toxic Assets (Frontier Imaginaries Ed. No. 4)’, e-flux, New York, USA
2016    ‘New World Order’, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney, New South Wales
2016    ‘International Academic Printmaking Alliance Exhibit’, Taimiao Art Gallery, Tiananmen, China
2016    ‘Jerusalem Show VIII’, Al-Ma'mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem, Palestine
2016    ‘Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award’, MAGNT, Darwin
2016    ‘TarraWarra Biennial: Endless Circulation’, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria
2016    ‘Creative Accounting’, UQ Art Museum, (Toured Nationally)
2016    ‘Frontier Imaginaries: No Longer at Ease’, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane
2016    ‘100% Brisbane’, Museum of Brisbane (Commissioned)
2015    ‘Post-Hybrid: Re-imagining the Australian Self’, John Curtin Gallery, Perth
2015    ‘Out of Queensland: New Indigenous Textiles’, Cairns Regional Art Gallery
2015    ‘Mirror Image: prints and plates’, Gympie Regional Art Gallery, Queensland
2015    ‘Body Politic’, Icebox Project Space, Crane Arts, Philadelphia USA
2015    ‘Saltwater Country’, AAMU: Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Netherlands
2015    ‘Saltwater Country’, Australian Embassy, Washington D.C., USA
2014    ‘Saltwater Country’, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Australia (Toured Nationally)
2014    ‘SOLID! Contemporary Queensland Indigenous Sculpture’, Cairns Regional Art Gallery
2014    ‘Kyoto Hanga 2014’, Fukuyama Art Museum, Fukuyama, Japan
2014    ‘Kyoto Hanga 2014’, Kyoto Municipal Art Museum, Kyoto, Japan
2014    ‘Conflict: Contemporary Responses to War’, UQ Art Museum, Queensland
2014    ‘Courting Blakness’, University of Queensland, St. Lucia
2013    ‘National Artists’ Self Portrait Prize’, UQ Art Museum, Brisbane
2013    ‘Point to Points: Brisbane to Tokyo Exchange’, POP Gallery, South Brisbane
2012    ‘In the red; on the vibrancy of things’, UQ Anthropology Museum, Brisbane
2012    ‘PICA Salon’, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Western Australia
2012    ‘Westpac Redlands Art Prize’, National Art School Gallery, Sydney, New South Wales
2012    ‘Picture This’, Counihan Gallery, Brunswick, Melbourne, Victoria
2012    ‘MoNow: Manifestations of Now’, No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne
2012    ‘Animal/Human’, UQ Art Museum, Brisbane, Queensland
2012    ‘NEW: Selected Recent Acquisitions’, UQ Art Museum, Queensland
2012    ‘The Churchie: National Emerging Art Competition’, GUAG Gallery, Brisbane
2011    ‘Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award’, Fremantle, Perth, Western Australia
2011    ‘HATCHED: National Graduate Show’, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art
2010    ‘The Graduate Art Show & Awards’, GUAG Gallery, Brisbane (Winner)
2010    ‘The Churchie: National Emerging Art Competition’, GUAG Gallery, Brisbane
2009    ‘The Graduate Art Show & Awards’, GUAG Gallery, Brisbane (Commendation)
2009    ‘2009 Silk Cut Award’, Glen Eira City Council Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria
2009    ‘Eracism: 2009 Youth Multimedia Competition’, Y.A.N.Q., West End – (Winner)

Public Art/Performance Installations
2024    ‘Paradise Won’, Commissioned and Presented by National Portrait Gallery, Canberra (Public Art)
2022    ‘Blood Money Currency Exchange Terminal’, Presented by QAGOMA (Installation/Performance)
2019    ‘Blood Money Currency Exchange Terminal’, Tarnanthi Festival, Presented by AGSA (Installation/Performance)
2019    'Blood Money Currency Exchange Terminal', Sydney Festival, Presented by MCA (Installation/Performance)
2018    ‘Blood Money Currency Exchange Terminal’, Project Rooms, Melbourne Art Week, Presented by IMA
2018    ‘Artist in Residence Program’, Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, NSW
2015    ‘Cicada Press: Indigenous Residency Program’, Cicada Press, CoFA, Sydney

Selected Publications as Artist
Martin-Chew, L., 2024, ‘Presley permeates an exhibition about legacy of colonialism’, InQueensland, , Able to be viewed at:
Jacobs, G., 2024, ‘Heroic figures, fiery haloes: the National Portrait Gallery's wall of secular saints’, Riotact, Last modified April 28 2024.
Hobday, L., 2024, ‘Mural a parade of rebellious heroes...doing burnouts’, National Indigenous Times (AAP), Last modified April 19 2024.
Guenzler, J., 2022, ‘'BLOOD MONEY' Artwork Money Exchange brings light to Australia's dark history’, National Indigenous Times, Last modified December 9, 2022
Guerrera, D., 2022, ‘Colonial antidote’, CityMag,, Last modified: September 15, 2022
Llewellyn, J. 2022, ‘Fresh Hell transforms the canon into a new narrative’, InDaily,, Last modified October 10 2022.
Marsh, W., 2022, 'Revenge fantasies for colonised Australia: Ryan Presley's vivid, violent tableaux', The Guardian,, Last modified September 8th 2022, 3.30am.
Hill, W., 2022, 'Ryan Presley: No Exit', Artist Profile Magazine, Issue 60, available online at
Knox, C., 2019, ‘Australian artist creates 'Blood Money' currency to highlight history of Indigenous dispossession’, ABC Arts,, Last modified November 9th 2019, 5.18am.
McDonald, J., 2019, ‘Tarnanthi 2019 shows deep wells of Indigenous creativity’, Sydney Morning Herald,, Last modified October 25th 2019, 4.00pm.
Ayres, E. & Ellen, R., 2019, ‘Learning about ‘guturru’ at Tarnanthi festival’, The Art Show, Radio National,
Skujins, A., 2019, ‘Tarnanthi artist invites an exchange of 'blood money'’ INDAILY,, Last modified on Mon 16 Sept 2019
Convery, S., 2019, ‘Look again: the artist reinventing Australian money for postcolonial payback’ The Gaurdian,, Last modified on Thu 24 Jan 2019 16.14 AEDT
Beck, N., 2019, ‘Blood Money Currency Exchange Terminal’, 2ser 107.3 ‘So Hot Right Now’ (radio program),, Aired 26th January 2019.
Martin-Chew, L., 2019, ‘Cool Hunter : Ryan Presley’ Art Collector’, Art Collector, Vol. 86, Jan-Mar 2019, pp. 65 – 67. Able to be viewed at:
Heartney, E. 2018, 'History Wars', Art in America, October,
Wlazlo, D., 2018, ‘Melbourne Art Fair’, MEMO Review,
Que, C., 2018, ‘Melbourne Art Fair : ‘finding its political and global footing’, Ocula, Ocula Report 9th August,
Maunder, T., 2018, ‘Blood Money: Ryan Presley and Tess Maunder In Conversation’, Art + Australia Online,
Moulton, K., 2018, ‘Prosperity’, un Projects Reviews,
Ed. King, M., 2018, Ryan Presley : Prosperity, IMA Publications, Fortitude Valley
Waterbright, S., 2018, ‘Ryan Presley: Terror Island (Wish You Were Here)’, eyeline magazine, issue 89, pg. 92,
Browning, D., 2018, ‘White saviours, black demons: Christianity and colonialism’ AWAYE! Radio National,,-black-demons:-the-nexus-between-christianity-an/9626498
Presley, R., 2018, ‘Prosperity’, Art Monthly Australasia, No. 306, April, pp. 52 – 62.
Sciarone, N., 2018, ‘Trade Markings at Van Abbe – Contextualizing trade and it’s present traces’, Metropolis M, Issue no. 6, Dec-Jan 20181,
Ed. Foley, F., Nicoll, F. & Martin-Chew, L. 2015, Courting Blakness, University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia
Buttrose, E., 2015, ‘To the fore: The growing legacy of QCA's bachelor of contemporary Australian indigenous art’, Art Monthly Australia, No. 279, May, pp. 52 – 55
Baxter, V., 2014, ‘Blak Wave Rising’, Real Time Arts, issue #120 April-May 2014 pg. 34 – 36,
Browning, D., 2013, ‘New Currency: Ryan Presley’ Artlink: Indigenous re-visions, vol.33, pp. 98 – 101.
Browning, D., 2013, ‘The colour of money: Ryan Presley’ AWAYE! Radio National,
Daw, R., 2012, ‘Animal/Human’ Artlink: Experiment, vol.32:3, pp. 110 – 1113,
Taylor, A., 2012, ‘Artwork has real currency’, Sydney Morning Herald,
Wills, G., 2011, ‘Preview: Ryan Presley’, Artist Profile, Issue 16 2011, pg. 138 – 139
McDermott, D., 2011, ‘ARTBREAK: ArtStart – Ryan Presley’, SBS STVDIO, television interview, videorecording
Scollay, R., 2011, ‘Artist features people of note’, Koori Mail, Edition 510, Wednesday 21st September, pg. 82
Radok, S., 2011 (ed.), ‘Emerging Talent’, Artlink Indigenous: Beauty and Terror , vol.31, no. 2, pg. 13

Anglican Church Grammar School Art Collection, Brisbane
Art Gallery of South Australia
Art Gallery of Western Australia
Banyule Art Collection, Melbourne
Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns
Gadens Lawyers Art Collection, Brisbane
Griffith Artworks, Griffith University, Brisbane
Moreton Bay Regional Council Art Collection
Murdoch University Art Collection, Perth
Museum of Brisbane
Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia
National Gallery of Victoria, Australia
Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art
Reserve Bank of Australia
Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre
University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane
University of Queensland Anthropology Museum, Brisbane

Selected Publications as Writer
Presley, R. 2021, ‘Imagine Victory, Execute Victory’, in RICHARD BELL : YOU CAN GO NOW, exhibition monograph, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, pp. 21 – 25
Presley, R. 2019, ‘Beacons of Hope’, Artlines Magazine, QAGOMA Publications, pp. 16 – 24
Presley, R. 2018, ‘Spirit Trade’ in Ryan Presley : Prosperity, IMA Publications, pp. 73 – 93
Presley, R. 2018, ‘Prosperity’, Art Monthly Australasia, No. 306, April, pp. 52 – 62
Presley, R. 2017, ‘Judy Watson’, in 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial 2017: DEFYING EMPIRE, National Gallery of Australia Press: Canberra.
Presley, R. 2017, ‘Fiona Foley’, in 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial 2017: DEFYING EMPIRE, National Gallery of Australia Press: Canberra.
Presley, R. 2017, ‘Reko Rennie’, in 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial 2017: DEFYING EMPIRE, National Gallery of Australia Press: Canberra.
Presley, R. 2016, ‘They say good fences make good neighbours’, in Over the Fence Contemporary Indigenous Photography from the Corrigan Collection, University of Queensland Press: St Lucia.
Presley, R. 2015, ‘DEBT’, in Courting Blakness: Recalibrating Knowledge in the Sandstone University, University of Queensland Press: St Lucia, pp. 136 – 141