Nov 16 2020

First Indigenous Australian To Win NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship

by Stephanie Siu

Portrait of DENNIS GOLDING. Photo by Document. Courtesy the artist and Artspace, Sydney.

On November 12, New South Wales (NSW) government-funded Create NSW and nonprofit Artspace Sydney announced Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay multimedia artist Dennis Golding as the recipient of the 2020 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship, winning AUD 30,000 (USD 21,800) towards the development of a self-directed research program about contemporary Aboriginal cultures and identities in urban spaces. Golding is the first Indigenous Australian winner in the award’s over 100-year history.

Golding’s winning installation Cast in cast out (2020), composed of epoxy resin, iron oxides, concrete, acrylic, and etching rag, was inspired by the architecture of his hometown Redfern, known for its immigration population, with references to the colonial Victorian lacework that typically surrounded suburban terrace houses. The work, which embodies research into the collective experiences of his family and peers, represents the community’s fragmented memories and draws attention to colonial legacies of architecture and land ownership.

Speaking of his win, co-curators of the finalist exhibition Alexie Glass-Kantor and Elyse Goldfinch commented that, “Spanning artistic and curatorial disciplines, Mr. Golding is an emerging leader in his community and we are excited to see where this opportunity will take his continued research and practice.” The prize will also fund the purchase of technical equipment and access to archival materials available from local cultural centers and communities.

Golding’s practice explores the political, social, and cultural representation of Australian Aboriginal history, as well as the continued impacts of colonization on Aboriginal cultural identities and experiences. He is currently a member of the artistic collective Re-Right Collective, which aims to discuss past colonial violence and facilitate intergenerational trauma recovery for Indigenous Australians.

The award recognizes early career visual artists. This year’s independent panel comprised Clothilde Bullen, senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney; Lauretta Morton, director at Newcastle Art Gallery; Steven Alderton, director and CEO of Sydney’s National Art School; EO Gill, artist and 2018 recipient of the Fellowship; and Talia Linz, curator at Artspace.

The finalist exhibition will run until December 13, and is the 24th edition held at Artspace. The other seven finalists include Akil Ahamat, Tarik Ahlip, Tiyan Baker, Kate Brown, Julia Gutman, Nadia Hernández, and Kirtika Kain.

Stephanie Siu is an editorial intern at ArtAsiaPacific.

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