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Arts success for UniSA graduates at Helpmann

by Rachel Broadley

Zoe Kirkwood with her work. Photograph by Che Chorley.Zoe Kirkwood with her work. Photograph by Che Chorley.

Adelaide was a-buzz with the arts throughout Mad March, and UniSA graduates enjoyed their share of the limelight with many exhibiting their art at events across the city and beyond.

Fourteen of the 33 graduates displaying their talent at the recent Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition were from UniSA’s School of Art, Architecture and Design, with six winning awards.

Zoe Kirkwood (pictured right), who studied a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours), won two awards for her large-scale installation The Neo-Baroque Spectacle.

Zoe won the Hill Smith Gallery/Helpmann Academy Friends Award, valued at $5000, which provides for travel to any destination in the world and cash towards living expenses, as well as the $3000 City of Adelaide Award, supported by the Adelaide City Council, giving her the opportunity to exhibit her work at Art Pod, an Adelaide City Council exhibition space which launched in 2013.

“It was incredibly amazing. The Neo-Baroque Spectacle has been an all-consuming year-long project and it is really fantastic to have it received in such a positive way,” Zoe said.

Zoe Kirkwood’s Let Them Eat Cake artwork.Zoe Kirkwood’s Let Them Eat Cake artwork.

“The work is based on ideas of contemporary excess and uses the baroque as a framework to explore these. The installation draws, in particular, on the notion of the bel composto from the 17th century baroque spectacle in which painting, sculpture and architecture were unified.

“I have just been accepted into the national graduate show Hatched in Perth at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts and will be installing my work there in May for the show. I also have an exhibition in the Project Space at the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia in late April which I am really excited about and am busy making work for.

“As for the travel prize money, it’s been such a crazy few weeks I have yet to really think about where I’d like to go! One option I would love to look into would be to do a residency along with it.”

Fellow UniSA graduate Tom Borgas will also be offered an exhibition at Art Pod after receiving a high commendation by Adelaide City Council.

The Council also presented Honours graduate and ceramic artist Sophia Nuske with a $2000 acquisitive award. Her series of delicate hand-built stoneware pencils (pictured below right) will become part of the council’s collection of artworks exhibited across the city.

Sophie Nuske’s stoneware pencils.Sophie Nuske’s stoneware pencils.

The SALA Festival Award was presented to joint winners, both of whom are UniSA graduates. Emily Clinton and Jessica Hansen won $500 each as well as a Premium Registration for the SALA Festival 2014.

Elizabeth Emery, who is currently completing Honours, was named as the recipient of a new Gallery Mentorship program, an initiative of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation. Elizabeth will spend the next 12 months curating a unique gallery space at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) under the guidance of WCH Foundation Arts in Health Coordinator Jill Newman.

For more information about the Helpmann Academy, click here.