The Parliament House Art Collection is a public collection of significant heritage value, created specifically for Parliament House. Principal architect of the building, Romaldo Giurgola, envisaged the art program functioning as an essential element of the building’s architectural fabric. He wanted the building, and the art and craft work within it, to reflect the unique qualities of Australia – especially the environment, the climate, and the light. The art and craft works also reflect aspects of Australian culture, character and identity, and showcase the best of Australian contemporary art and craft practice.
Rather than developing the art program after the building was completed, the architects involved artists, craftspeople and curators from the early phases of the construction project. An Art Advisory Committee was formed within the Parliament House Construction Authority, and began to meet regularly from 1982. Collecting started in 1984, with the major purchasing taking place from 1985 to 1987.
Many of the works acquired during this period are part of the Rotational Collection, which is the largest part of the Parliament House Art Collection. Works from the Rotational Collection are displayed in the general circulation spaces of the building, as well as the offices of Members and Senators. Apart from the Rotational Collection, the Parliament House Art Collection comprises a number of other stand alone collections:
Together these collections make up the Parliament House Art Collection, containing over 6,000 art and craft works.