Best Arts Program

Curating projects in a way that preserves individual artistic vision but also adds power to its message by rendering it part of a whole, takes creativity and a deft touch. Each of these nominees’ curatorial efforts have challenged, immersed and delighted us this past year; yielding programs that became greater than the sum of their parts.

 

Time Pass – Bankstown Arts Centre

Through the lens of artists Mylyn Nguyen and Garry Trinh, Time Pass explores something we’ve all become acutely aware of through lockdown: the experience of passing time. The digital map-based exhibition focuses on Bankstown and its surrounds, uncovering an intimate history of how the area has changed over the years. Time Pass opened at the end of July 2021, offering a source of solace and local celebration during an acutely tough time for the area – and encouraging viewers to slow down and pay attention to the joyous moments we may take for granted in our everyday.

Photo courtesy of artist.

Unsettled

Unsettled is a searing exhibition uncovering the untold histories behind this nation’s foundation story. First Nations voices speak to stories of devastation, survival and the right for recognition – histories that have been all but erased by colonial forces. Curated by Laura McBride and Dr. Mariko Smith, Unsettled presents these first-hand accounts through historical documents, large-scale artworks and immersive experiences, interrogating the continued impacts of colonisation and the ongoing denial of Indigenous sovereignty and harnessing the power of truth-telling to effect change.

Photo courtesy of nominee.

Supper Sessions

Amidst a couple of particularly gruelling years for arts funding, Supper Sessions has taken a proactive approach. On the last Sunday of each month, they welcome a different chef to serve up a fancy three-course vegetarian feast on 107 Projects’ sunny rooftop – with all ticket proceeds being pooled into a $1000 independent grant that goes to one artist each month to kickstart a creative idea. Supper Sessions has taken a lack of support for experimental, critical, independent projects by emerging artists and turned it into a beautiful and joyous monthly celebration of creativity in all its forms.

Photo courtesy of nominee.

Art Write Light – Story Factory

Art Write Light was a free creative writing project curated by Story Factory that connected local artists with young people over the last three years. In 2021, Year 9 and 10 students from six participating schools were introduced to Dhungatti artist Blak Douglas and his work, visiting his studio in Marrickville and hearing directly from him about his process. The students then created written and audio responses to Douglas’ work, continuing open dialogue, feedback and mentorship with him throughout. Art Write Light 2021 culminated in a beautiful light and sound installation at Story Factory, Redfern, alongside a new work by Douglas.

Photo courtesy of nominee.

Soft Power – Firstdraft

Soft Power is an online exhibition curated by this country’s longest running artist-led organisation, Firstdraft, exploring the shadows of emergent and established systems of powers – what is obscured or made obsolete within a status quo that is constantly shifting. From Janet Bi Li Chen’s poetry interrogating the future of artificial intelligence, to an interactive game by Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer that asks you to question online masculinity, to Roslyn Orlando’s graphic score proposing ways of using the voice to avoid detection technology, Soft Power presents speculative futures, insightful critiques and experimental responses to confront the myriad power systems we must grapple with and ultimately dismantle.

Photo courtesy of nominee.

seven methods of killing kylie jenner

Hilarious, thought-provoking, and helmed by an incredible team of women of colour, seven methods of killing kylie jenner was never going to be your average white-bread theatre moment. A core value of community engagement guided everything about this sell-out season – from Vyb Nyts reimagining what a night at the theatre can be, to a rehearsal observer program, to an insightful and uncompromising series of online talks. Darlinghurst Theatre Company and Green Door Theatre Company’s of production seven methods of killing kylie jenner has not shown us a new way of approaching theatre, but has made it clear that some of the archaic conventions and flow-on effects of these are simply not acceptable anymore.

Photo courtesy of nominee.