UNSW Art & Design staff member Professor Sarah Kenderdine has been recognised by the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) with a prestigious Australia Prize.

Professor Kenderdine’s Pure Land project won the Distinctive Work Prize for a performance, exhibition, project or a specific advance in policy development in any Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) field. 

Pure Land is an immersive and interactive 3D digital experience of the World Heritage Site at the Dunhuang Caves, China—at the nexus of the Silk Road. Cave 220 is one of 492 grottoes resplendent with Buddhist mural paintings over 1000 years old. It has been virtually recreated and augmented at 1:1 scale in a 360-degree display system.  

The Award celebrates the achievements of a team of 30 people in an interdisciplinary research community of art historians, animators, archaeologists, interaction designers, media artists, and software engineers.

The Award is highly significant because it acknowledges that with today's high fidelity digital imaging and displays, 'digital' is no longer a tool in service of the real. Pure Land offers us a context for powerful experiences of aura.