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HomeCultureSusan and Isaac Wakil Foundation makes landmark gift of $20 million to Art Gallery of New South Wales expansion
In progress image of Sydney Modern Project, view from north-east, as produced by SANAA.  
Featuring artworks top to bottom: Tony Albert, Frontier Wars (Flying Fox Story Place), 2014, © Tony Albert; Reko Rennie, Murri Totems, 2013, © Reko Rennie, courtesy of the artist and Blackartprojects. 
© Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2017
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Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation makes landmark gift of $20 million to Art Gallery of New South Wales expansion

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is honoured to announce that the Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation has committed $20 million to its capital campaign. This is the largest monetary gift in the Gallery’s 146-year history. It will support the new building designed by multiple award winning Tokyo-based architectural firm, SANAA, scheduled to open in 2021.

Susan Wakil AO and Isaac Wakil AO have long been committed to the Gallery’s growth and development, and in 1969 they attended the Foundation Appeal dinner to support the Gallery’s first major extension as part of the Captain Cook bicentenary celebrations. When apprised of the Gallery’s current expansion proposal, Mr Wakil expressed his interest in supporting the Gallery through the Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation.

Through many discussions with the Gallery and David Gonski AC, president of the Art Gallery of New South Wales Trust, Mr Wakil has followed the project’s progress closely, and was delighted to see SANAA’s design evolve over the past two years.

David Gonski noted that Susan and Isaac Wakil are known for their extraordinary philanthropy, generously supporting over many years, a variety of Sydney institutions including the University of Sydney, Sydney Jewish Museum and Opera Australia.

“Susan and Isaac are two of the Gallery’s most committed and longstanding donors. I am delighted, but not surprised, by their leadership pledge. This magnificent gift is instrumental in making the expansion of the Gallery a reality,” Gonski said.

Art Gallery of New South Wales director Michael Brand said the Gallery will recognise this philanthropic leadership by naming two prominent locations in the new building after the Wakils.

“We are delighted that the journey through the new building will begin at the Susan Wakil Pavilion. Our many visitors, especially those attending galas, membership receptions and other special events, will also be able to enjoy the grand space of the Isaac Wakil Gallery, that is central to the new building’s layout” Brand said.

This commitment of $20 million is part of the $70 million pledged to date in support of the Gallery’s expansion. The capital campaign to support the project will be publicly launched later this year.

Dr Mark Nelson, chair of the capital campaign committee, expressed the committee’s appreciation for this landmark gift.  “We are deeply grateful to Susan and Isaac Wakil for supporting the Gallery’s efforts to build an important addition to the city’s cultural landscape.”

For more information visit the Sydney Modern Project website.

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