Lineup of Primavera revealed

Six new faces will be making an appearance at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Words: Erin Irwin

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia has announced the artists that will feature in its annual exhibition Primavera, a presentation that aims to give a platform for younger, less established artists aged 35 and under. More than 250 artists have so far exhibited within the program, with six more to now join an illustrious circle of local talent.

This year’s exhibition will be curated by Talia Smith, who currently works at Granville Centre Art Gallery, Sydney, having previously curated shows for Artspace Ideas Platform, Cement Fondu, the 2021 Ballarat Foto Biennale, and the 2022 Singapore International Photography Festival. Speaking of what drove her to choose these artists she says that, while they are significantly different stylistically, “what brings them together is the way they reckon with the perils of history, education, culture, and language to question authoritative structures and systems. They assert that there is more than one way of living and offer impressions of how it might look.”

The first of the artists to grace the MCA is Newcastle-based Tiyan Baker, who is a Malaysian Bidayǔh-Anglo Australian artist working with installation, photography, video and sculpture. Embracing her heritage, Baker’s practice interrogates relationships between words, places and stories, often looking to her own diasporic experiences for inspiration.

Alongside Baker is Christopher Bassi of the Yupungathi and Meriam peoples, who utilises representational painting as a form of speculative storytelling. Represented by Yavuz Gallery, Sydney and Singapore, the artist often engages with themes of identity, culture and colonialism.

Also exhibiting is Moorina Bonini, who is a descendant of the Yorta Yorta Dhulunyagen family clan of Ulupna and the Yorta Yorta, Wurundjeri and Wiradjuri Briggs/McCrae family. Her practice is deeply informed by her heritage, working to undermine Eurocentric narratives within western institutions.

Melbourne-based Nikki Lam’s art engages with screen culture through video art and moving images, addressing the power of the image to communicate cultural, social and political issues, and the place that art and art makers have within this aesthetic milieu.

The practice of Sarah Poulgrain is one that seeks to expand the idea of what art is and how art and art institutions can engage with their audience, focusing on the sharing of knowledge. This often involves the artist undertaking a new craft or skill, before passing that expertise on to others, building a personal and reciprocal relationship between artist, art, and audience.

Finally, the MCA will see work by Truc Truong, who works primarily with installation and assemblage, embracing the influence of change and accident in her practice. Her work tends to engage extensively with postcolonial theory, mixing humour with outrage to produce works that evolve over time.

“The MCA’s annual Primavera exhibition is recognised as a unique and pivotal launch pad in an artist’s career”, says Suzanne Cotter, Director of the MCA, “each year is a privileged opportunity to see the energy and the commitment of a new generation of artists who will be defining how we see and understand art now and in the future. This year’s edition of Primavera is no exception.”

Primavera 2023: Young Australian Artists will be on show from 9 September 2023 until 4 January 2024.

This article was posted 2 August 2023.

Image: Truc Truong, But it’s funny, 2022. Installation view, Timeless, The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, Adelaide, 2022. Various objects on spinning altar. Photograph: Thomas McCammon. Courtesy: the artist and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney.

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