First First Nations winner in 100-year history.

Words: Jacqui Martin

Artspace Sydney and Create NSW have announced Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay artist Dennis Golding as the winner of the $30,000 2020 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship (VAEF). Golding is the first Aboriginal artist to win in the award’s more than 100-year history.

Golding’s winning work Cast in cast out reflects on his childhood in Sydney’s inner-city Redfern. Resin sculptures of the iconic Victorian cast-iron panels to explore practices of colonial occupation and western structures of land ownership.

The VAEF is a key exhibition for profiling the dynamism and breadth of emerging contemporary artistic practice in New South Wales. Valued at $30,000, this Fellowship is offered by the NSW Government through Create NSW to enable a visual artist at the beginning of their career to undertake a self-directed program of professional development. Now in its 24th year at Artspace, it continues to define new generations of contemporary art practice for both artists and audiences.

Each year Create NSW convenes an esteemed judging panel to determine the finalists, whom Artspace acknowledges for engaging with insight and passion in assessing what was again, a highly competitive round of proposals.

“Golding’s work stems from memories of the Victorian lacework that lined the terrace houses in his childhood suburb of Redfern and throughout the work’s development the artist consulted with family, community and peers to embed shared lived experience into the installation,” note co-curators Alexie Glass-Kantor and Elyse Goldfinch. “Spanning artistic and curatorial disciplines, Golding is an emerging leader in his community and we are excited to see where this opportunity will take his continued research and practice.”

The finalist works are on display at Artspace, Sydney until 13 December 2020.

Image: (from left) The Hon. Don Harwin, MLC, Minister for the Arts, 2020 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship Recipient Dennis Golding. Photo: Anna Kucera.

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