Current Issue #488

Bold new works mark Helpmann Academy's 25th anniversary graduate show

Bold new works mark Helpmann Academy's 25th anniversary graduate show

More than 150 artworks from 27 graduating artists will be on display to mark the 25th anniversary of the Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition.

The artworks, which will be on display from Friday, February 15 at Drill Hall in the Torrens Parade Ground, span a diverse range of media including ceramics, painting, jewellery, photography, printmaking, video, installation and sculpture from the top graduating artists from the Adelaide College of the Arts (TAFE SA/Flinders University) and the University of South Australia.

“There are some very bold works this year, particularly the installation works,” says Jane MacFarlane, CEO of the Helpmann Academy. “I have also noticed themes around cultural and sexual identity and the environment, which really reflects what is happening in the world.”

This year, the exhibiting artists are eligible for 15 awards valued at more than $60,000 to be presented on the opening night (Friday, February 15). Two new awards – the Lang Mckee Award ($5000) and the Linden New Art Award ($6620 in value) – will also be presented this year. Some of the artists to look out for in this year’s exhibition include Sam Gold, Yusuf Hayat, Joseph Häxan and Tara Rowhani-Farid. Hayat, currently a PhD student at UniSA, was awarded the City of Adelaide Award at the 2018 Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition, and received the Helpmann Academy British School at Rome Residency.

Works by Tara Rowhani-Farid (Photo: Grant Hancock)

For the 2019 exhibition, Hayat presents a painting and two LED light works, which focus on ideas around translation, hospitality and emplacement. He is looking at the idea of translation in terms of hospitality, and being open to others particularly in the areas of intercultural relations and approaches to immigration and asylum.

The LED light works relate to Hossein Valamanesh’s work Here is Love and are a result of conversations between the two. Valamanesh’s original work, which will be shown alongside Hayat’s works, is on burnt paper, the Farsi word ishq (love) is made with a branding iron while Hayat’s work uses LED lights. “The translation is in material,” Hayat says. “I was interested in the change in meaning effected by a change in material.”

Rowhani-Farid received a First Class for her Bachelor of Painting (Honours) at the University of South Australia in 2018 and was the recipient of the Port Adelaide Art Supplies Painting Prize. She is the 2019 recipient of the ACE Open Helpmann Studio Residency. Rowhani- Farid’s paintings combine the tools of the internet with traditional analogue painting. QR codes embedded in her paintings can be scanned on the viewer’s mobile device, providing a transitory experience of the virtual and the real. Her paintings exist both on the gallery walls and online in the digital world.

Love (again), Yusuf Hayat (Photo: Supplied)

“It is interesting to consider that in 10 years’ time the QR codes may no longer be scannable and all we will be left with of the paintings are the ghosts of their prior lives and function,” Rowhani-Farid says.

Gold is a recent recipient of a Helpmann Academy Group Grant and the Helpmann Academy residency at the George Street studios. Her work is also currently in Essential Forms, a group show at GAGPROJECTS curated by Harriet McKay. Gold works in raku, porcelain and stoneware clay, producing ceramic installations that fuse architectural and organic themes. She is fascinated by the physical nature of the material and the relationship between the maker and material. Exploring ideas around time, rhythm, repetition and traces of gesture, Gold’s series Embody expands the concept of the traditional ceramic vessel.

An artist to watch, Häxan’s work was recently chosen to promote the latest series of American Horror Story and he has exhibited in China, Japan, Europe and the United States. A selection of digital photographic-composite images from Häxan’s series Body Horror is featured in the graduate exhibition. These striking images are composed by the artist using himself as the model and a process of self-replication, which creates twin figures and masses or swarms of bodies within the works.

Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition
Friday, February 15 to Sunday, March 10
Drill Hall, Torrens Parade Ground

Header image:
Embody, Sam Gold (Photo: Jordan Fowler)

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