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Felton Bequest’s 2020 gift to the NGV Triennial 

An immersive light sculpture which promises to test the perceptions with rapid vectors, loops, straight lines, curves and complex geometric forms lit up in white neon is one of the showcase works set to draw culture vultures out of COVID-induced hibernation and back to Melbourne’s arts precinct when the NGV Triennial opens on 19 December.

Acquired by the Felton Bequest and gifted to the NGV, the bright lights of the installation by Welsh artist, Cerith Wyn Evans, C=O=D=A 2019-20, will be among 86 projects by more than 100 artists, designers and collectives from more than 30 countries at this free blockbuster exhibition which runs until 18 April 2021.

The Felton Bequest is one of Victoria’s oldest and largest philanthropic trusts, established in 1904 with £380,000 – an amount which at the time provided the NGV with access to funds more than London’s National and Tate Galleries combined.

“The NGV Triennial brings together the latest thinking in international contemporary art, design and architecture,” said Sir Andrew Grimwade CBE, Chairman of the Felton Bequests’ Committee. “As a keen art collector and enthusiast, I am sure Alfred Felton would have delighted in this unusual and mesmerising installation – and the enthusiasm surrounding the NGV Triennial.”

Alfred Felton spent a lifetime associated with another Melbourne icon – the Espy in St Kilda which now has a floor named after him (the Ghost of Alfred Felton) and featuring pictures and paraphernalia from the time he lived there from the 1890’s until his death. 

The Felton Bequest is now valued at more than $50m and divides its income equally between the NGV and charitable causes that support women and children. It is one of more than 650 charitable trusts managed by Equity Trustees, which distributed more than $90 million in grants and bequests last year.

“It is an honour for us to be the stewards of Alfred Felton’s legacy,” said Jodi Kennedy, General Manager, Charitable Trusts and Philanthropy, Equity Trustees.  

“In the description of this work by Cerith Wyn Evans, it says ‘It is possible to follow the intersections of the work with the eye, but the way is so intricate that it becomes impossible to take it in at a glance.’ This could just as easily apply to the impact the Felton Bequest has had since it was established. 

 “This year more than most, we have had to think carefully about how philanthropy can meet the challenges we face in our community. We know that to fulfil its potential in contributing to lasting,
positive change, philanthropy must be focussed, informed and committed. Alfred Felton created a trust that was forward thinking and focussed – his legacy has stood the test of time,” she concluded.

C=O=D=A 2019-20 by Cerith Wyn Evans will be installed in the NGV space devoted to 18th century art on level 2 of NGV International. 

The 2020 Philanthropy Annual Giving Review, which reports of granting and funding, and its impact, for the FY20 year, was released on 15 December and is available online. 

Download the full Media Release


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Alicia Kokocinski

General Manager – Marketing & Communications
03 8623 5396 / 0403 172 024

Equity Trustees was established in 1888 for the purpose of providing independent and impartial Trustee and Executor services to help families throughout Australia protect their wealth. As Australia’s leading specialist trustee company, we offer a diverse range of services to individuals, families and corporate clients including asset management, estate planning, philanthropic services and Responsible Entity (RE) services for external Fund Managers. Equity Trustees is the brand name of EQT Holdings Limited (ABN 22 607 797 615) and its subsidiary companies, publicly listed company on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX: EQT) with offices in Melbourne, Bendigo, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, London and Dublin. Philanthropy services are provided by Equity Trustees Wealth Services Limited (ABN 33 006 132 332) (AFSL 234528), part of the EQT group of companies.