Primavera 2019: Young Australian Artists

Zoe M. Robertson, Various Protest Banners, 2018Seven artists who use language forms and poetic expression in their practices have formed this year’s Primavera 2019: Young Australian Artists, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia’s annual exhibition showcasing the country’s next generation of up-and-coming artists aged 35 years and younger, which is now display until February 2020.

Now in its 28th edition, Primavera continues to be a vital platform for emerging Australian artists and curators to present exciting new art. The 2019 artists include:

Mitchel Cumming
Born 1988, Sydney. Lives and works Sydney and Arnhem, The Netherlands. Mitchel Cumming is an artist, poet and a founding co-director of KNULP, Sydney. His work is concerned with peripheral and recessional gestures of aesthetic framing and address. His practice frequently involves the establishment and/or manipulation of exhibition contexts, a process in which elements generally considered supplementary to artistic production become instead a primary material.

Rosina Gunjarrwanga
Born 1989, Kakodbebuldi, NT. Lives and works Mandekadjang and Maningrida, NT. Dankorlo clan. Bangardidjan subsection. Yirridjdja moiety. Kuninjku language. Rosina Gunjarrwanga is a painter and sculptor whose work is grounded in Kuninjku cosmological belief systems. Through her practice, Gunjarrwanga refines the Wakwak (crow Djang) design that originated in the Mardayin ceremony and communicates to her clan, community and broader audiences the resilience and constancy of her culture.

Lucina Lane
Born 1991, Melbourne. Lives and works Melbourne. Lucina Lane’s artistic practice deals with the interrelation of political, philosophical and poetic questions. Salvaged content, including found materials, fragments of text, existing artworks and exhibition contexts, is forged into conceptually charged works. Produced through the lens of a painting practice, her work acts as a testing site for dialectically opposing ideas, highlighting the possibilities of alternative interpretations.

Aodhan Madden
Born 1994, Melbourne. Lives and works Paris, France. Aodhan Madden is an artist. Across the 5 or so years of his ‘professional career’, he has also been a retail assistant, an English tutor, a copywriter, an editor, a personal results coach, a bauble painter, a social research interviewer, an artist’s assistant, a babysitter, an exam invigilator, and a production assistant at a souvenirs factory, among other ‘roles’.

Kenan Namunjdja
Born 1989, Maningrida, NT. Lives and works in Mankorlod and Maningrida, NT. Yirridjdja moiety. Kodjok subsection. Kuninjku language. Kenan Namunjdja’s practice is intimately connected to his country, family and knowledge of Kuninjku cosmology and law. Namunjdja draws upon the Djang (totemic beings, sacred sites and ceremonial designs) of the Kardbam clan estate to create paintings and sculptures which interweave rarrk (cross-hatching) and figuration to create rhythmic compositions.

Zoe Marni Robertson
Born 1986, Adelaide, SA. Lives and works Sydney. The artist has requested an artist biography not be included as a representation of her practice in this context.

Coen Young
Born 1988, Sydney. Lives and works Sydney. Coen Young’s practice spans painting, drawing, photography and sculpture. Predominantly working within the realm of painting, the artist’s work is guided by a deep interest in material possibilities which, in recent years, have called upon and conflated historical methodologies more commonly used in the production of the photographic image. Young’s paintings take as their subject various art historical tropes and tend towards discrediting the form of the artwork as image/painting/photograph as something resolute.

Curated by Sydney artist Mitch Cairns, whose own practice is centred on painting – has exhibited widely since graduating from the National Art School in 2006, and he has received the 2017 Archibald Prize and the 2012 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship.

For this group show, Cairns brings together an artist-led exhibition, curating the show to embrace each artist’s original approach to their individual art-making practice. The exhibiting artists straddle various media combining painting, drawing, sculpture, sound, video and text-based works.

“Primavera is a special occasion on the MCA’s annual exhibition calendar as it acts as a springboard for many artists’ careers, introducing the work of younger artists to a wider audience,” said MCA Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE. “Cairns has curated an exceptional group of talented young artists, including the work of two young Maningrida painters, which introduces the next generation of artists from this remote community.”

Each of the seven artists contribute a broad range of ideas to Primavera 2019. The selected artists all foster a strong dialogue on the common themes and conceptual ideas presented in the exhibition. Works on view explore ideas around the museum as institution, intergenerational relationships, and different notions of communication, both written and spoken.

“The artists participating in Primavera 2019 collectively embrace cultural connection, poetic registers and the vast spectrum of painting in their articulation of new language forms,” says Mitch Cairns. “I have primarily been guided by my work as a painter, as well as an artist with an interest in language and the written word.”

Primavera 2019: Young Australian Artists
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 140 George Street, The Rocks (Sydney)
Exhibition: 11 October 2019 – 9 February 2020
Free entry

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Zoe M. Robertson, Various Protest Banners, 2018. ink, acrylic and lime wash mistints on discarded manchester, 6 x 9m – photo courtesy and © the artist