Nur Shkembi is a Melbourne (Naarm) based curator, writer and scholar. Nur has produced and curated over 150 events, exhibitions and community engagement projects, including You Am I, the first nationwide annual exhibition of contemporary Australian Muslim artists. She was part of the core team which established the Islamic Museum of Australia, serving as the museum’s inaugural Art Director, Exhibitions Manager and foundation Curator. Much of her interest has been in the development of community awareness in relation to the arts with a focus on the presence of Australian Muslim artists in the cultural landscape. As a museum curator, Nur brought together artifacts, traditional art and contemporary art as a means for collective storytelling, subverting stereotypes and as a provision for the individual narrative. She has served on numerous boards and committees including the Museums, Cultural Heritage and Cultural Development Advisory committee, the VicArts Visual Arts Advisory panel, Chair of Theatre Funding, and as a Commissioner for the Creative State Commissions at Creative Victoria. Nur is a member of the International Association of Art Critics, of which the Australian section is led by Professor Natalie King; and an Advisory Board Member of the multi-year art history research project led by the University of Melbourne and funded by the Australia Research Council titled: Decentering Australian Art: Beyond the fixed canons of Australian Art. Nur has been an Academic Teacher and a guest lecturer for the Masters of Curatorship course at the University of Melbourne. She is a published author, with her debut novel Rookie distributed nationwide for the Australian high school curriculum by Cengage. Her writing is also featured in the National Gallery of Victoria’s Gallery magazine, un Magazine, Artist Profile, Crikey and the international arts magazine ReOrient. Nur engages her independent curatorial practice nationally, recent exhibitions include: Waqt al Tagheer (ACE Open) Khalas! (UNSW Galleries), The Inner Apartment (Nishi Gallery and National Museum of Australia), We Are All Affected (Fairfield City Museum and Peacock Gallery) and as the curator of the T&M Salon at The Good Room, an independent gallery in Brunswick East, which featured Melbourne’s diverse and talented artists, musicians, poets, academics and writers.
Nur is also a founding member of eleven; a collective of contemporary Muslim Australian artists, curators and writers led by the acclaimed Sydney based artist Khaled Sabsabi. The collective also includes: Abdul Abdullah, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Idil Abdullahi, Hoda Afshar, Khadim Ali, Safdar Ahmed, Rusaila Bazlamit, Eugenia Flynn, Zeina Iaali, Abdullah M.I. Syed and Shireen Taweel. Eleven: https://eleven-collective.com/
Nur holds a Masters (First Class Honours) from the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA & MCM) and is currently a PhD candidate (Doctor of Philosophy – Art) in the Department of Art History at the University of Melbourne where she is undertaking research in the continuity of Islamic Art history through the work of contemporary Muslim artists. She is also investigating the contemporary art practices of artists within the current socio-political environment, neo-Orientalism and postcolonial theory through her independent curatorial practice and writing.
I would like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional custodians of the lands and waterways where I live and work and pay my respects to their elders past and present. Sovereignty was never ceded.