Vale Neil Balnaves
The Australian Museum honours the legacy of one of Australia’s leading arts philanthropists, Neil Balnaves.
Through The Balnaves Foundation, Neil generously supported the Australian Museum’s commitment to advocating for First Nations voices, including the award-winning Unsettled exhibition. The donation from The Balnaves Foundation facilitated free entry to this important exhibition, which was viewed by more than 70,000 visitors during its run at the Museum and continues to draw audiences online.
“Neil’s support for the Australian Museum’s recent Unsettled exhibition enabled us to keep the exhibition open free to the public post COVID-19 lockdowns. He was a steadfast advocate for the truth-telling that the exhibition demonstrated and fully supported the Museum and curator Laura McBride in this ground-breaking and often confronting show. Neil was a courageous leader who stood behind us in the development and promotion of one of the most important exhibitions in the AM’s history. He will be remembered and missed by all of us,” Australian Museum Director and CEO, Kim McKay AO, said.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Neil Balnaves, who was one of the first to support the Unsettled exhibition and back the work of the First Nations Division at the Australian Museum. Not only was Neil deeply generous through The Balnaves Foundation, but he also encouraged other philanthropists to contribute to supporting the Arts and First Nations Peoples. His legacy will be remembered, and I hope it will inspire the next generation of philanthropists to support the causes that Neil advocated for,” Australian Museum Director, First Nations, Laura McBride, said.
The Australian Museum extends its condolences to the Balnaves family, including Neil’s wife Diane, children Hamish and Victoria and their families, and to the Trustees and staff of The Balnaves Foundation.