Artspace and Create NSW are pleased to announce the eight (8) finalists participating in the 2020 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship exhibition, to be presented at Artspace Sydney from 30 October to 13 December 2020. The first new physical exhibition since March for Artspace, will feature new work by eight finalist artists from New South Wales. The $30,000 Fellowship will be awarded to one of the eight finalists on Saturday 14 November 2020 at a public event to be held online.

Curators Alexie Glass-Kantor and Elyse Goldfinch said: ‘As a community we are experiencing complex and difficult times, COVID-19 has impacted all facets of our lives and we are also bearing witness to profound and necessary social change. In this current moment Artspace and Create NSW believe that the 2020 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship offers a critical opportunity for professional development for emerging artists through curatorial advocacy and engagement. We are honoured to be working collaboratively with the eight outstanding artists who are all new to the Fellowship and to jointly shape an exhibition that will offer unique insight into their practices.’

Details for the finalist works are as follows:

  • Akil Ahamat continues his exploration into autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) with a large-scale immersive glass sculpture and sound work that will act as a physical simulation of encounters experienced in the digital space.
  • Incorporating resin casts, video and a suspended water lens installation, Tarik Ahlip distorts our relationship to the visible through the manipulation of water and light using photovoltaics, a technology known for converting light into energy, such as solar panels.
  • Drawing on her Bidayuh ancestry, Tiyan Baker explores the traditional practice of farming Durian fruit as an allegory for loss of culture, language and traditional methods due to colonisation. Influenced by her recent residency returning to her mother’s birthplace in Sarawak, Malaysia, Baker has created a series of resin sculptures and an olfactory work that blends the smells of coconut oil and Durian to contaminate the gallery space.
  • Dennis Golding’s sculptural and photographic works focusing on his relationship to the Victorian fencing on terrace housing that holds strong familial memories from his childhood in Redfern investigate colonial practices and structures of land ownership and architecture.
  • Positioned within a queer feminist critical dialogue, Julia Gutman’s large scale embroidered tapestry features portraits of herself and the women in her life, created using offcuts of fabrics and materials donated to her by those represented in the work, appropriates the aesthetics of categorically feminine crafts in order to embody a more fluid language of representation.
  • Developed in an inter-continental collaboration with her mother and grandmother, Nadia Hernandez’s large-scale wall work and seven-meter suspended textile work speak to the concept of protest and resistance through the lens of querencia – a Spanish word that relates to desire and the gathering of our personal sense of strength.
  • Kirtika Kain’s 28 screen-prints and a series of sculptural wall works draw on her identity as an Australian-raised woman, born into the Indian Dalit caste to interrogate language as a weapon of oppression. The textural wall works incorporate materials that relate to themes of valuation, corporality, ritual and tools of Dalit livelihood, including religious pigments, hair, tar, brooms and leather.

With over 100 years of history, the Fellowship is a key exhibition for profiling the dynamism and breadth of emerging contemporary artistic practice in NSW. Valued at $30,000, this Fellowship is offered by the NSW Government through Create NSW to enable a visual artist at the beginning of their career to undertake a self-directed program of professional development. Now in its 24th year at Artspace, it continues to define new generations of contemporary art practice for both artists and audiences.

Each year Create NSW convenes a judging panel of esteemed colleagues to determine the finalists, whom Artspace acknowledges for engaging with insight and passion in assessing what was again a highly competitive round of proposals.

Artspace is implementing the physical distancing, capacity limits and increased hygiene measures outlined by the NSW Government.

Featured image: Nadia Hernandez. Sangrante Imataca. Courtesy the artist and. Blackartprojects