Pre-Columbian ceramics and hot pink shrink-wrapped monuments are just part of an exhibition exploring the influence of travel on emerging artists.
Curated by UNSW Art & Design student, Luke Letourneau, the Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship Exhibition at UNSW Galleries showcases the work of returning and incumbent scholars including three Art & Design graduates.
Established by the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) in 2000, the scholarship contributed $360,000 to over 70 artists to aid in their professional career development through travel.
Letourneau is the recipient of the inaugural Freedman Foundation Curatorial Scholarship which was established to encourage and support students enrolled in UNSW’s Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership.
“What’s interesting to me is that the artists are at opposite ends of the travelling scholarship experience. They are either returning or still have it all ahead of them."
He said the scholarship has opened his eyes to the practicalities of curating an exhibition.
“Working with budgets, spreadsheets, artists and stakeholders was all new to me, and everything needs to be considered and accounted for,” he said “You can talk about these ideas in abstract in class but it’s not until you get out and gain real-world experience that it all makes sense.”
He said the exhibition aims to explore themes of identity and self.
“What’s interesting to me is that the artists are at opposite ends of the travelling scholarship experience. They are either returning or still have it all ahead of them,” said Letourneau.
This year’s exhibition features UNSW Art & Design graduates Jason Phu, Claudia Nicholson and Cigdem Aydemir.
Phu is exhibiting This is the worst houseparty I’ve ever been to which draws on his cultural heritage as a Chinese Australian. The Sulman Prize winning artist recently participated in a residency at Organhaus Chongqing in China where he developed skills in calligraphy and painting.
Nicholson’s exhibited work explores definitions of authenticity with pre-Columbian artefacts merging with craft store diamantes and surf culture iconography. She will use her scholarship to research pre-Columbian ceramics in Paraguay, Bolivia and Guatemala.
UNSW graduate and returning 2013 Freedman scholar Cigdem Aydemir will exhibit Plastic Histories, in which the artist photographed monuments she shrink-wrapped in South Africa. Aydemir said the “works aim to veil accepted histories and draw attention to alternate and queered narratives”.
The Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship and Curatorial Scholarship are administered by NAVA on behalf of the Freedman Foundation.
The exhibition runs until 31 October at UNSW Galleries, corner Oxford St and Greens Rd, Paddington, Sydney.