The Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards and exhibition showcase not only the best of the natural world, but the patience, ingenuity and talent of the photographers who spend their time embedded within wildlife so that they can get that incredible, revealing shot. Judged by a panel of industry-recognised professionals, this year's 100 finalists were taken by some of the world’s best nature photographers and selected for their creativity, artistry and technical complexity.
Carriageworks will host the sixteenth installment of Semi Permanent this May for three days of creative discussions, workshops and networking. This year’s installment comes courtesy of the Vivid Ideas program at Vivid Sydney. It features a line-up of the leading figures in design and visual innovation and will be hosted by local graphic designer and letterist Gemma O’Brien. Scott Dadich and Patrick Godfrey, co-CEOs of Godfrey Dadich Partners, will take the stage to join in a conversation with some of their most notable collaborators, who will be named closer to the festival. Aside from running a major design company Scott also serves as creator and executive producer for the Netflix series Abstract: The Art of Design. The designer of your favourite footwear will also be attending. Tinker Hatfield works as the sneaker designer for Nike and has had a hand in the look of most of their catalogue, including the iconic Air Jordans. He comes to Sydney to share stories and insight from his more than 36 year career. Paula Scher, the first female principal at Pentagram and legendary New York graphic designer, will host a number of workshops across the event while CEO of innovative thinkers AKQA, Ajaz Ahmed, will give his thoughts on what it takes to build a world famous business and manage a large number of staff effectively. If all that wasn’t enough the vice president of design at Airbnb, Alex Schleifer, and New York-based, Hong Kong-born local motion designer Joyce N. Ho round
For its 21st edition, the Biennale of Sydney will be curated by Mami Kataoka, chief curator at the Mori Art Museum (MAM) in Tokyo. Kataoka was one of 13 curatorial advisers to Stephanie Rosenthal for the 2016 Biennale of Sydney, and she's pulled together 69 artists for her own program, showing work at seven venues: Art Gallery of NSW, Artspace, Carriageworks, Cockatoo Island, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney Opera House and, for the first time, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Kataoka is the first Asian director in the Biennale's 43-year history and, perhaps unsurprisingly, there's a strong focus on Asian art in next year's edition: Asian artists make up 28 of the 69 showing work next year. Australian artists make up 21 per cent of the line-up, and half of those are Indigenous artists. At the centre of the program is superstar Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who'll present two sculptures, a feature length film and deliver a keynote address. He'll be bringing a 60-metre inflatable boat filled with 250 larger-than-life refugee figures to Cockatoo Island. The work is called Law of the Journey, and is made of the same black rubber used to make the vessels that carry refugees across the Aegean Sea. Want to get your hands dirty, your fingers inky, raise the rafters with your voice and smack your frustrations out of the ballpark? See these six participatory works. See our picks of Biennale highlights.
Western Sydney artist David Capra found his initial inspiration for Sheer Fantasy when he saw footage of Big Bird singing 'It's Not Easy Being Green' at Jim Henson's memorial service. He says there was something heartbreaking about the performance, which showed how Henson's creations have taken on an extraordinary life of their own. It led him to ask a question: what would happen if the world accommodated fantasy a lot more? Sheer Fantasy is the answer. Capra has curated this exhibition for Campbelltown Arts Centre, drawing in the work of a diverse range of artists from around Australia and the world. There's Mark Shorter's 'Hello Stranger', an installation inspired by 1970s road movies and Westerns, featuring a beaten up truck in front of a sweeping desert landscape. There's famed photographer Polly Borland's portrait of Game of Thrones actor Gwendoline Christie; Esme Timbery's shell-encrusted Sydney Opera House; and a wallpaper by Terri Bowden that splices together images of Fred Flintstone and Michael Jackson. One of the most unusual additions to the exhibition is a painting by Kim Novak, the actor-turned-artist who starred in Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 thriller Vertigo. The painting depicts Novak in character alongside co-star James Stewart and Hitchcock himself. Stranger still is a displayy of admin and merchandise materials from the UFO and Paranormal Research Sociey of Australia, an organisation that's met regularly at Campbelltown Arts Centre for a decade. The free
Frank Hurley lived an extraordinary life in just about every way imaginable. Born in Sydney, he became the official photographer for multiple expeditions to Antarctica, led by Douglas Mawson and Ernest Shackleton, including one in which the party became stranded for two full years, from 1914 to 1916. Just a year later, in 1917, Hurley joined the Australian Defence Force and became a war photographer for both world wars. His photos are among the most enduring images of the wars. But this exhibition at Manly Art Gallery and Museum celebrates Hurley's more domestic side and features mostly images taken while in Sydney at the very beginning of the 20th century and then in the 1950s. Many of the photos haven't been exhibited before and reveal a side of Sydney that most of us wouldn't know: there's Martin Place while you could still drive straight down the centre and a gorgeous photo of Circular Quay in 1960. The exhibition is part of the 9th annual Head On Photo Festival.
There are only nine artists in White Rabbit's The Sleeper Awakes, which takes over four floors of the Chippendale gallery. But there's certainly no shortage of showstoppers or big ideas on display from these forward-thinking practitioners. The exhibition itself is a conversation between China's present and the future that Mao Zedong and his communist revolutionaries dreamed of 70 years ago. Nowhere is this conversation more apparent than in Feng Mengbo's 'Long March—Restart', an old arcade style video game projected onto the gallery's walls. Visitors are welcome to play what seems to be just a cute game with a Mario-esque figure as the hero. But the game is actually a reimagining of the Long March, the military retreat that Mao used as a tool of propaganda, making a hero out of Yang Zirong, a Red Army soldier. In this version, the soldier hurls Coke cans (could there be a more potent symbol for capitalism?) at his foes. One of the strangest works on show is Liu Xiaodong's 'Weight of Insomnia', featuring a painting machine meticulously recreating vision from a live webcam showing footage of Circular Quay and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The robotic brush continues to move throughout night and day creating its own impression of the cityscape. At the centre of the exhibition is Sun Xun's 'The Republic of Jing Bang', which uses an entire floor of the gallery. He combines painting, woodcuts, traditional Chinese ink and charcoal drawings in this mammoth installation. On the to
Christian Thompson is best known for his provocative self portrait photographs, but this exhibition covers 15 years of evolution, with photography, video, sculpture, performance and sound. Curated by Charlotte Day and Hetti Perkins, the exhibition explores identity, race and Australia’s colonial history, and Thompson's own experiences. At the centre of the exhibition is 'Berceuse', a newly commissioned multichannel video and audio piece.
The Arabic word "Khalas" is difficult to translate into English and can mean a number of different things: "stop", "finish", "that’s all", "it’s fine" and "enough!" It's also an appropriate title for this exhibition of Australian Muslim artists, which argues that Australian Muslims have had enough of the fraught sociopolitical pressures they find themselves under every day. How each artist chooses to express that sentiment varies greatly: Abdullah M.I. Syed uses everyday objects to comment on complex political ideas while Hoda Afshar’s highly stylised photographs challenge the dominant images and representation of Muslim women in the west. Co-curator Nur Shkembi said: "The variety of subject matter dealt with by the artists in Khalas is both intellectually potent and deeply personal. This exhibition in many ways shares so much of my own lived experience as a visibly attired Muslim woman. When confronted with relentless negative stereotyping, portrayals of violence and associations with terrorism, Australian Muslims at times do find themselves in a reactive position and compelled to prove their right to be part of society. Khalas presents the artist narratives on their terms – they are leading the conversation and subverting the rhetoric with their personal truth, humour, wit, soulful reflections and critical observations." The exhibition features 16 Muslim artists from a range of backgrounds: Abdul Abdullah, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Hoda Afshar, Safdar Ahmed, Khadim Ali, Lei
The Archibald Prize is the exhibition that stops a nation – well, a city anyway. Everyone has an opinion about who and what is most deserving of the $100,000 top gong – and the annual exhibition of finalists (this year there's a whopper 57 paintings) offers plenty to argue over, featuring faces familiar and not, by big name, mid-career and emerging painters. The top gong for 2018 has gone to Yvette Coppersmith for her self-portrait, emulating the power of New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who was unavailable to pose. She beat out painters like Jamie Preisz, who won the Packing Room Prize for his portrait of Jimmy Barnes, and Vincent Namatjira, whose studio self-portrait was highly commended by the judges. The line-up for this year also includes Archibald veterans like Robert Hannaford and Del Kathryn Barton. If you prefer your painters pint-sized, then you should make a pit stop at the Young Archie exhibition, featuring portraits by artists between the ages of 5 and 18. Running concurrently in the gallery are the Wynne and Sulman Prize exhibitions – the former for landscape painting or figurative sculpture, the latter for subject painting, genre painting or mural art. Check out our hit list of the best art exhibitions to see in Sydney this month.
Exquisite in beauty and craftsmanship, mysterious in origin, and inspirational to writers, poets and musicians over the ages, the six 15th-century tapestries in the ‘Lady and the Unicorn’ series have been called the “Mona Lisa of the Middle Ages”. They are usually found at the Musée de Cluny - Musée national du Moyen Âge (the National Museum of the Middle Ages) in Paris, where they are a huge drawcard for visitors (and underwent extensive restoration in 2013). Their trip to Sydney will be the third time they have ever travelled, following a trip to New York in 1973-74, and to Japan in 2013. Each of the six tapestries in the series features a slender blond woman with a unicorn on one side and a lion on the other, against intricate backgrounds that feature plants, animals and symbols. Five of the panels represent the senses (taste, sight, scent, touch and hearing), with a sixth, titled ‘My Sole Desire’, thought to represent understanding. Seen together, the works span approximately 20 metres in length. It’s not known who created the tapestries, or whether the lady they depict has a real-life counterpart, but it’s thought that they were commissioned by the Le Viste family (whose coat of arms appears throughout the works) in the late 1400s. Director of the Musée de Cluny, Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye, says of the series: “It seduces us by the beauty and balance of its compositions; by the intimate and secret atmosphere that is created, and by the joyful harmony of the flowers s