Featuring more than 140 ambitious and thought-provoking projects, the 2023 Art Grad Show is one of the largest exhibitions of emerging art in the country, offering audiences insight into the latest developments in contemporary art thinking and practice today.
The exhibition encompasses a wide range of contemporary art disciplines, including painting, sculpture, installation, video, performance, photography, printmaking and more.
Head of Art at the VCA, Associate Professor Simone Slee, said this year’s Grad Show is a striking exhibition of critically engaged artwork. “The artworks reflect a myriad of perspectives on issues and discourses that resonate with the world right now, viewed through the lens of our diverse VCA Art graduates,” said Professor Slee.
“This exhibition presents narratives that are intimate and personal; the bonds between families, stories passed from generation to generation and from country to country. Some works are playful and light hearted, others are powerful and poignant; from self-portraits to complex projections, from sculptural textiles to architectural interventions.”
Among the show’s highlights is a striking video installation by Bachelor of Fine Arts (Drawing and Printmaking) student Naimo Omar – awork is inspired by her connection to Melbourne’s Muslim and Somali communities and examines the interplay between private and public spaces from the perspective of a minority body.
“My work explores the internal infrastructure and façades of train stations, particularly Werribee and Hoppers Crossing stations in the western suburbs,” said Naimo. “Through my work, I examine the evolving functions of public transport spaces, focusing on accessibility and the experiences of individuals with diverse identities, including those who are fat, Muslim, Black, and immigrants.”
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting) student Grace Murphy has drawn on her experience working in the pet industry to inform her paintings. Grace has examined the complex relationship between human and animal life through vibrant and ornate depictions of animals in unconventional settings.
“This series of oil paintings depict artificially constructed moments, symbolising the complexities that exist in human and animal relationships – domestication, personification, and the value of animals,” says Grace.
“I’ve incorporated subtle abnormalities in form and alterations to add complexity and intrigue to these images. I aim for these distortions to encourage viewers to engage with the work more deeply, as they consider their relationship with art, reality, and personal experience.”
Graduate Certificate of Visual Art student Georgia Anne’s work is also featured. Georgia is a proud Central and Eastern Arrernte woman and a multi-disciplinary artist living in Naarm on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation.
Through a multi-disciplinary practice, and a thoughtful melding of traditional and contemporary styles, Georgia’s works are a journey of identity, challenging conventional labelling in the modern art world, and confronting biases that seek to pigeonhole her as solely an ‘Aboriginal artist’.
Her work provokes the viewer to consider the boundaries that block participation from those working outside of the confines of the artistic institution. Inspired by First Nations collectives like Proppa Now and This Mob, Georgia seeks to redefine the boundaries of what it means to make art as a First Nations woman.
Also exhibiting in this year’s show is Bachelor of Fine Arts (Photography) student Demi Kromidellis – whose photographs delve deeply into themes of identity, belonging, and her Greek heritage, capturing intimate scenes from her life and her grandparents’ home and garden.
“These works draw from the stories and wisdom passed down by my parents and grandparents,” said Demi. “I’ve reinterpreted these stories in a modern light, envisioning the future evolution of my cultural identity.”
For the graduating students, the exhibition represents the culmination of years of dedication, hard work, and a profound engagement with their craft.
The VCA Art Grad Show
The Stables – Art Studios, Octagon and Martyn Myer Arena, University of Melbourne, Southbank
Exhibition: 24 – 30 November 2023
For more information, visit: www.unimelb.edu.au for details.
Image: Grace Murphy with a collection of her works (supplied)