Current Issue #488

Work of Art: eDuard Helmbold on the transformative power of an arts residency

Work of Art: eDuard Helmbold on the transformative power of an arts residency

eDuard Helmbold will show a collection of work inspired by his time on an arts residency in New York at Helpmann Academy’s upcoming group exhibition, Kaleidoscope.

University of South Australia graduate eDuard Helmbold was awarded the City Rural Helpmann Academy Travel Award at the 2018 Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition. This, coupled with a Helpmann Academy Regular Grant, assisted eDuard to undertake a three-week residency at the Arts Letters & Numbers institution in upstate New York. It was a trip that proved to be transformative for his practice.

“Participating in a residency straight out of University allowed me the space to reflect on what my practice looks like outside of assignments and projects,” says Helmbold. “I think residencies shed light on parts of your practice that you may take for granted at home. You are often forced to explore materials or methods that you wouldn’t normally use because of subtle obstacles that come with residencies – this leads to a growing self-awareness in your practice, knowing who you are as artist and how you work.”

Travel and exposure to different artistic environments has been a bit of a theme in the development of eDuard’s arts practice, starting with his immigration to Australia from South Africa.

“I certainly had an interest in art but growing up in a working-class neighbourhood outside of Johannesburg (South Africa), my exposure to art was limited to the posters at the local video-store. It was only once I came to Adelaide that my interest grew to the point where I decided to study art part time in 2012,” says Helmbold.

eDuard Helmbold
eDuard Helmbold

“In 2013 I saw an exhibition by South Australian artist Christian Lock at a local gallery. I remember leaving that show both intimidated and inspired. That day has become a bit of a ‘moment’ for me when I realised that art wasn’t just going to be a hobby for me. I realised that I didn’t just want to be an artist. I want to be a great artist.”

eDuard works through the mediums of sculpture, performance and drawing to explore the role of nostalgia and shame in the negotiation of cultural identities. The work he will show in Kaleidoscope centres around a series of drawings he created while playing chess with some strangers in Washington Square.

“During last two days of my stay in NYC, I went to Washington Square where there is a community of people that play chess against passers-by. I played chess against two men, Lazarro and Big John and with their permission notated the moves,” says Helmbold. “These four drawings are from the games we played; they serve as four portraits of my interaction with these men in New York.”

Next up for eDuard is a project around the “grief and loss” connected to the closure of the Holden Production Plant in Elizabeth – a piece that he believes will bring full circle the elements that have been a part of his thoughts and practice over the past few years.

“Mystery, symbols and rituals have always been part of how I made sense of things for myself, which led me to my way of making. I believe it is our ability to feel conflicting emotions that grows our ability to feel empathy” says Helmbold. “I am driven to create spaces and sculptures where people can feel nostalgia and shame, attraction and repulsion, wonder and fear in the same space.”

You can view eDuard Helmbold’s work at the 2019 Kaleidoscope Exhibition at Light Square Gallery, Adelaide College of the Arts, 39 Light Square.

Opening night Wednesday, July 17 from 6pm.
Exhibition open from July 18 – 26 Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.

To find out more about Helpmann Academy’s programs head to

The Adelaide Review is a media partner of Helpmann Academy

Header image:
EDuard Helmbold, Big John 0-2 (Photo: Courtesy of the artist)

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