Visual artists vie for prestigious fellowship

Image caption (from left): 2018 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship finalists, (top) JD Reforma, Kieran Butler, Shireen Taweel, Market Santiago, Jodie Whalen, Biljana Jancic, Kai Wasikowski, (front) Georgia Saxelby, Shivanjani Lal, EO Gill – photo by Maja Baska.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin has announced ten NSW artists shortlisted for this year’s prestigious $30,000 Create NSW & Artspace NSW Visual Arts Fellowship.

Now in its 22nd year at Artspace, the Fellowship enables an emerging artist to undertake a self-directed program of professional development (such as research, further study and internships) over two years.

Minister Harwin said the Government has been proud to support visual artists for over a century and praised Artspace for its experimentation, collaboration and advocacy in developing artists of the future.

“Support for our emerging NSW artists is vital if we’re to succeed in building a thriving, diverse and world-class arts sector. Working with the experts at Artspace we’re able to shine a spotlight on some of the most exciting new talent and deliver their work to new audiences,” Mr Harwin said.

“The breadth of artistic talent in NSW never ceases to amaze me and I know we’re in for yet another hugely popular exhibition in November. I am delighted to continue the State’s support for the Fellowship.”

The shortlisted group will now develop works for a collaborative exhibition to be held at Artspace in Woolloomooloo from 15 November to 9 December this year, where an assessment panel will announce a final recipient for the Fellowship.

Artspace Executive Director Alexie Glass-Kantor, Deputy Director Michelle Newton and Curatorial Assistant Lola Pinder will co-curate the exhibition, collaborating closely with each artist through a series of studio visits and mentored exchanges to further develop their work for the finalists’ presentation.

The shortlisted visual artists are:

  • Kieran Butler (Summer Hill) looks at applying transgender studies as a methodology for examining non-binary models of contemporary photographic practice, gender identity, and where these two histories might speak to one another.
  • EO Gill (Tempe) works in a collaborative and intuitive way to capture their own queer experience and to explore queer intimacy, gender dysmorphia and queer ways of looking in the Australian suburban context in which they grew up.
  • Biljana Jancic (Ashfield) works primarily in large-scale architectural interventions, driven by an interest in the way that subjects and objects inscribe, delineate or territorialise sites.
  • Shivanjani Lal (Lidcombe) uses spatial and material activations along with video to create documents and archives which analyse her personal narratives in the broader context of the social history which brought her family from India to Fiji and now to Australia.
  • JD Reforma (Elizabeth Bay) works across visual art, writing and curation. Their practice explores diverse themes including branding and status anxiety, popular culture and the cult of celebrity, as well as political dynasticism and cultural imperialism.
  • Marikit Santiago (North Parramatta) is a Western Sydney-based artist of Filipina heritage with a practice that examines personal conflicts of cultural plurality at the conjunction of Filipina ethnicity and Australian nationality.
  • Georgia Saxelby (Balmain) creates installations which combine sculpture, architecture and audience participation to re-contextualise ritual in order to negotiate new identities.
  • Shireen Taweel (Punchbowl) explores personal experiences of being an Australian Muslim of Lebanese descent through the medium of coppersmithing.
  • Kai Wasikowski (Redfern) is a multidisciplinary artist currently researching the history of rock climbing in Australia and its nexus with naturalist literature from the 19th century and environmentalist movements.
  • Jodie Whalen (North Parramatta) is a Western Sydney performance and installation artist who explores an interest in creating emotionally fraught environments drawn from an interest in ritual as a signifier of the art making process.

Published: 18 September 2018