Barry Pearce, head curator of Australian Art, said an extremely important addition to the works of the great masters was Indigenous art.

We are going to surprise people and bring some old Aboriginal art back in to the gallery, he said.

The majestic Pukumani grave posts made by Indigenous artists from the Tiwi community on Melville Island were removed more than 50 years ago from the Grand Courts.

These 17 poles, the centrepiece of the gallery’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection, will take pride of place in the courts.