2024 Finalists - Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award
Image: by Suzanne Balding of Leonie Rhodes examining her 2023 winning submission 'National Treasure'
Here are details of the 2024 finalists in the Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award.
- The 2024 Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award winner was Rani Amvrazis (she/her) with her work extremismós
- The 2024 Bundoora Homestead Arts Prize winner was Ara Dolatian (he/him) with his work Antiquities
- The 2024 People's Choice Award winner was Rissa Belle (Ze/Zer/Zei) with zer work 137
See Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award for further details
Artist: Alistair Fowler (He/Him)
Title/year of artwork: A Quiet Protest / 2023
Materials: Clay, Reclaimed Clay, Underglaze and Glaze. One firing to Earthenware temperatures to promote a more environmentally friendly approach to my art practice.
A Quiet Protest is a collection of gentle warriors standing together in response to the current global trend of gradually abolishing trans rights. Each ceramic figure represents a vulnerable micro-minority in our queer community, introducing joy, hope, a sense of play and strength in unity.
Progressive rainbow colours help identify figures as diverse queer identities, standing together tall and proud in a fight for recognition and offering an invitation to be celebrated. The figures honour our rich history by wearing slogans from queer protests in the 1980s and 1990s as seen on a recent visit to the Australian Queer Archives.
Artist: Ara Dolatian (He/Him)
Title/year of artwork: Antiquities / 2022-2023
Materials: Earthenware, glaze, oxide
The work examines cultural ecologies surrounding the histories of present, lost and stolen Mesopotamian artefacts. Through tangible and visual means, it serves as a vivid representation of sculptural deities, architectural forms and vessels.
Rather than replicating the pieces, the intention is to draw inspiration from them, creating new fictionalised deities with eccentric forms and colour schemes, inspired by the Mesopotamian myths and architectural sites. Reinstating some of lost history, while at the same time highlighting the fragmented nature of its archives. The work also pays homage to clay, the foundational material used and skillfully developed in ancient Mesopotamia.
Artist: Elyas Alavi (He/Him)
Title/year of artwork: "and the blood in your mouth would not stop" / 2022
Material: oil on canvas
This work refers to the discrimination and violence experienced by members of the queer community worldwide, with a particular focus on my birth country, Afghanistan. In the past two years, following the resurgence of the Taliban, the situation has significantly worsened for the queer community, leading to increased dangers. Many individuals within our community endure torture and assault, confronting challenges that extend beyond mere visibility, encompassing active discrimination and direct physical violence.
Under Taliban governance, same-sex relations, and homosexuality are prohibited, and individuals engaging in such relationships risk execution. The ongoing plight faced by the queer community in Afghanistan underscores the urgent need for awareness and action to address the grave human rights violations they endure. The title of the work is inspired by one of my own poems.
Artist: Famous Artist Sebastian Berto (They/Them)
Title/year of artwork: Venus Fairy Trap / 2022
Materials: Upcycled cotton bed sheet, fabric dye, lightfast pigmented ink, acrylic paint, graphite.
Venus Fairy Trap.
Oozing, rich, addictive ichor.
Plump belly rolls.
Licks for all beings.
Artist: Georgia Banks (She/Her)
Title/year of artwork: DataBaes / 2023
Material/s: Video / Performance Document
For DataBaes, Banks has created Gee, an AI chatbot whose personality was developed using data from the copious questionnaires Banks completed while applying for several Australian reality TV shows. In a private performance, Banks spoke to Gee every day, to see if they could fall in love with each other. The DataBaes film uses a selection of Georgia and Gee’s conversations as the basis for a montage of a reality TV–show date. Visitors are invited to see if they, too, can fall in love with Gee. The result is more than just an AI chatbot: it is an exploration of the role of ego in modern technology and our contemporary dependence upon it.
Artist: James Hale (He/Him)
Title/year of artwork: Loveline II / 2022
Material: Acrylic spray paint on linen
These paintings are romantic. Romantic in the Frederich Schlegel sense, but also in the Grindr sense as well. They are serious and funny at the same time. I deliberately avoided anything overtly affirmative, therapeutic, moralising, or too direct. Lust, loneliness, sexual objectification, desperation, longing, self-loathing, heartbreak, cruelty, love, and bitterness are all here. As usual, I’ve tried to keep things as ambiguous as possible.
Artist: Matthew Schiavello (He/Him)
Title/year of artwork: The essence of self (parts i-iii) / 2023
Material: Unique state print (archival digital print with watercolour).
This series explores the concept of healing our past, through intervention of the medium it has been captured on.
Salt has been used across history in cleansing and purification rituals. Using a rediscovered roll of film, which documents a time of sadness and loss in the artist’s life, select images are presented for healing and purification through a process of soaking them in salt.
The images metamorphose leaving non-objective shapes of texture and vivid colour.
A renewed sense of self emerges from this transformation and the question arises: Are these images a visual representation of the healed self?
Artist: Rani Amvrazis (She/Her)
Title/year of artwork: extremismós / 2023
Material: 3D printed sculpture
Sound is present in all matter; complex, fluid and ephemeral. Sound, when recorded in different environments, documents that locale. Each location can be characterised by the sounds that are present. Extremismós uses sound as a key variable to explore the phenomena of sound and consider its impact on and reflection upon the social, cultural, ecological and built environments. Extremismós examines the impact of technology and AI on society, focusing on external forces that undermine democracy through the manipulation of technology and the biases implicit in algorithmic systems. This real-world impact is evident in anti-LGBTQIA+ protestors actively targeting the Queer community.
The resulting sculpture was formed by translating sound recorded during the homophobic and transphobic response to drag story-times at libraries in Melbourne in 2023. The work responds to the complex forces that undermine and influence society, prompting audiences to engage in robust public debate on the rise of AI and influence of social media by translating sound into a physical encounter.
Artist: Raphy (He/Him)
Title/year of artwork: Cruisin’ / 2023
Materials: Ceramic tiles, recycled timber
'Cruisin' was created for HARD, a part of the NGV’s Melbourne Design week. Cruisin’ examines the analogous relationship between searching through hard rubbish piles and cruising for anonymous sex. Throughout recent history, Queer people have been banished to the shadows and forced to meet in quiet, hidden spaces such as toilet blocks and parks. In a similar sense, treasure hunters must often wait until after dark to go picking through other people's garbage. Both acts reveal that there is a certain allure to the forbidden, a hidden world waiting to be explored. Cruisin' intertwines these parallel narratives, drawing attention to the clandestine yet vibrant stories that unfold in the margins of society.
Cruisin' was created using discarded tiles found in hard rubbish, failed glaze samples, smashed pieces of the artist's own work and recycled Tasmanian Oak.
Artist: Rissa Belle (Ze/Zer/Zei)
Title/year of artwork: 137 / 2023
Materials: Salvaged wire, metal & textiles
My wearable art piece, 137, serves as a living canvas, a celebration of the diverse tapestry of identities within the LGBTQIA+ community. Every stitch, every hue, is a testament to the vibrant spectrum of human expression. From the bold primaries of red, yellow, and blue to the nuanced hues of secondary and tertiary tones like green and peach, this meticulously crafted ensemble invites viewers to immerse themselves in a kaleidoscope of colour and individuality. As we collectively navigate the fluidity of identity, 137 stands as a visual ode to the beauty of diversity and the strength found in embracing one's authentic self.
Artist: Sam Kariotis (They/He)
Title/year of artwork: Preservation / 2022
Materials: Tin, Cardstock
This work is part of a larger ongoing series experimenting with the form of my Testosterone vial in different mediums. This one, made out of Tin represents the resilience of not just my personal lived experience as a trans man, but the collective resilience of my fellow brothers and sisters, as well as the joy I feel in my identity despite its hardships. I chose to present this tin cast of my t shot in its original packaging to call attention to its form and the importance of naming it.
Artist: Thang Do (He/Him)
Title/year of artwork: The Birth of The Family Jewels, 27/9 / 2023
Materials: Socred holographic foil boards, paper, clay, and gold leaf.
In this reincarnation of The Birth of Venus painting, the artist transformed the figure of Venus into the Family Jewels nestled in the middle of the holographic shell, emerging from a period of sexual denial and breaking social definitions of a male growing up in the Eastern culture. Much like the Renaissance, the artist demonstrated his explosion of creativity and craving for unfiltered expressions that took place after the day he came out, a date so monumental that he embedded in the artwork’s name as his second birthday, 27th September.
As Melbourne became part of his artistic landscape, the artwork mirrors the journey many queer immigrant souls experience to find a haven here to pursue unapologetic self-expression.
Artist: Virginia Keft (She/Her)
Title/year of artwork: Queering the colony in The Colony (I don't give a flying fox which team you bat for) / 2023
Materials: raffia, Eucalyptus wood found on Dharawal Country, synthetic polymer, wire
The central motif of the Flying Fox, celebrates connection to place, identity, and community. The woven sculptural forms reference my deep connection to Culture through shared knowledge of weaving practice that is passed down from generation to generation. The rainbow Flying Foxes highlight the intersectionality of my Aboriginality and my Queerness. In the same way that the bats thrive by maintaining communal bonds with each other that span generations, so do communities of people with shared experiences and ways of doing, being, and knowing.
Artist: Xavier Ho (He/Him)
Title/year of artwork: Infinite Colours / 2023
This generative work draws data from 2,499 queer independent games. Each game adds a unique shape and colour onto the canvas, and plays a unique string of notes. Over 8 hours, the canvas will be filled with infinite colours to celebrate LGBTQIA+ independent videogames.
History has always been queer. The collective activism, movement, and expressions that queer folks are making aims to be visible, heard, and to say that we are here.
But queer movement does not happen overnight; queer resistance is accumulative over generations of self-sacrifice and self-acceptance. The multitude intersectionality becomes a canvas of ever-moving colourful light.