When the newly renovated ANU Drill Hall Gallery reopened in July 2016, it included a major donation of paintings and sculptures from the collection of Jacqui and James Erskine, Chairman of Sports & Entertainment Limited. With an estimated value of more than half a million dollars, Mr Erskine's gift is the largest contemporary art donation ever given to the Gallery and the University.
The Erskine gift includes masterpieces by the Australian Indigenous artists Emily Kame Kngwarreye and George Tjungurrayi. Professor Brian Schmidt AO, ANU Vice-Chancellor, said at the opening of the Drill Hall Gallery:
"The University's vision is to be the destination of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander intellectual leaders and this includes Indigenous artists."
Drill Hall Gallery Director Terence Maloon said that, as a result of his generous gift, Mr Erskine has been nominated a life patron of the Drill Hall Gallery. He said: "It is a very personal and very thoughtfully put together package. These works are by artists close to James Erskine's heart."
James, his wife Jacqui and their three children are all passionate about art. James began collecting paintings from the age of 18 and now owns one of the finest collections of contemporary Australian art. During an interview with the Drill Hall Gallery in 2015, James said:
"My job now is to give a bit back, so that future generations can see and experience some of the magic. People will leave the gallery happier than they went in - if I can make that happen for some others, then I've done my bit."