Next generation of creative practitioners exhibit at the ANNUAL
More than 150 works from emerging creative talents are on display at the A&D ANNUAL 2021. The exhibition is the largest national showcase of graduate contemporary art and design, launching the next generation of artists, designers, makers and digital media creators to emerge from UNSW School of Art & Design.
The graduate showcase reflects a range of innovative, experimental, and interdisciplinary approaches to creative practice and research, including installation, animation, digital media and film, visual communication and graphic design, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, sound, furniture and jewellery, textiles, design for social innovation, ceramics.
(Melon) Yiou Yang, Bachelor of Design (Honours), was awarded the annual TWT Excellence Prize for Design. The Prize is awarded to an outstanding graduating creative practitioner, generously supported since 2017 by the Bridging Hope Charity Foundation and TWT Property Group. It includes a bursary and studio at St Leonards Creative Precinct for a year.
Using a speculative critical design approach, melon's research project tackles the invisible patriarchal norms in design for universal standardisation. Men's body scale and form are used extensively as the standard in product design as demonstrated in medical personal protective equipment (PPE) or the size of smartphones. As a result, these material realities are seen as normal by the public. The research project hopes to evoke public gender awareness towards the systematic issue.
The judging panel, led by Deputy Head of School (Design) Dr Vaughan Rees, were impressed by Melon's ability to hone in on contemporary issues informed by his own context and examine these issues through a deeply informed lens. By creating speculative design scenarios, Melon was able to comment on the gender bias of global products and representations through a brave and experimental design process.
Karan Singh Shekhawat (Lingam Brown), Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours), was selected as the winner of the 2021 Ross Steele AM Fine Arts Prize, set up with the generous support of Ross Steele AM. The prize recognises and celebrates outstanding work in Fine Arts practice, and also includes a bursary.
Karan's practice revolves around gender stereotypes formed by society and how they impact one's identity. Growing up in India and living in Australia, Karan's work portrays the struggles of living in two worlds with opposing ideologies about one's sexuality, compelling him to live with dual personalities. Most of his artworks are constantly evolving self-portraits, which Karan uses to enter the Indian history and queer religious bodies to de-centralise his queer self.
The judging panel, led by Deputy Head of School (Art) Dr Grant Stevens, were impressed by Karan's use of materials and forms to explore complex relationships between queer identity, religion, history, and mythology. There is a vitality to the quality of drawing and mark making, and the use of fabric as a material support in the work subtly speaks to relationships between the body and clothing.
Professor Edward Scheer, Head of School, School of Art & Design, said the graduates were a testament to the importance of creativity, critical thinking, and resourcefulness during times of uncertainty.
“The outstanding work they have produced demonstrates the capacity for art and design to impact our world, as they respond to the social, technological, and environmental issues of our time,” said Prof. Scheer.
“Congratulations to all our graduating students, and I wish them the very best as they move forward to become the next generation of creative leaders, contemporary artists, designers and digital media creators, both in Australia and overseas.”