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2019 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship

Harriet Body

Nick Dorey

Amala Groom 

Make or Break  

Shivanjani Lal

Katy B Plummer

JD Reforma

Linda Sok

Leyla Stevens

Shireen Taweel 

Jelena Telecki


Curated by Elyse Goldfinch & Alexie Glass-Kantor


The NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship is awarded annually by Create NSW and presented in partnership with Artspace. Each year, Create NSW convenes an independent judging panel of artists and industry professionals to determine the finalists from a highly competitive pool of NSW-based applicants. These artists then undertake a period of development with the Artspace curatorial team, working towards an ambitious group exhibition from which one artist is awarded $30,000 to contribute to a program of professional development. 


This year, the eleven participating artists and collectives display a common interest in navigating the politics of self, ritual, power and history. Many of the artists employ visual forms of storytelling to share personal histories and lived experiences. Drawing attention to points of erasure and suppressed histories, artworks speculate on the emotive, familial and spectral relations between themselves and those around them. 

A number of artists make transparent the structures of power and representation inherent in the cultural industry, from Hollywood to the art world. Using social and political systems as subject matter, artists are revealing, critiquing and dismantling hierarchies of dominant culture and institutional waste. Other artists draw directly on the production [and destruction] of monuments of significance that resonate in different ways through history. 


These artists are further connected through a deep sense of materiality and repetition. Many artworks are assembled from an accumulation of objects and gestures. Repetitive actions feel meditative and introspective, negotiating the thresholds and tensions of ritual and process. While some works are about shared experience and renewal, others focus on the ability to hold space and fortify against the chaos and uncertainty of the contemporary world. 


Artists move across media including installation, sculpture, sound, video, photography and painting, underscoring a breadth and depth of emerging artistic practice. The Fellowship represents a cross-section of the most exciting emerging artists coming out of NSW each year. The finalist exhibition has been held annually at Artspace since 1997, continuing to define new generations of contemporary art practice for both artists and audiences.

Image Captions: 2019 NSW VAEF, Installation View, Artspace, Sydney. Courtesy the artists. Photo: Document. 

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