Primavera 2017: Young Australian Artists, presented by Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), will bring together artworks by eight outstanding Australian practitioners who question the nature and purpose of knowledge systems and histories ranging from the physical to the digital. 

Now in its 26th edition, guest curator and UNSW Art & Design graduate Sophia Kouyoumdjian, will work with the participating artists to explore the paradoxical theme of ‘Ancient Futures’.  Each work in the exhibition will consider the relationship between human existence in the present and the past and how we have created, stored, or used historical documents and records to inform contemporary thought.

Kouyoumdjian says, “At the core of every engaging piece of contemporary art is an intriguing idea that questions our existence and the nature of the human condition.”

Working across the disciplines of film, textiles, painting, 3D simulations, and photography, the artists participating in Primavera 2017 include; Jacobus Capone (representing Western Australia), Adam John Cullen (representing Victoria), Nicole Foreshew (representing New South Wales), Teelah George (representing Western Australia), Laura Hindmarsh (representing Tasmania), Elena Papanikolakis (representing New South Wales), UNSW Art & Design graduate Tom Polo (representing New South Wales), and Kynan Tan (representing Western Australia and New South Wales).

The opportunities that come from being selected to exhibit in Primavera are significant.  For emerging practitioners, juggling competing interests and often multiple jobs, Primavera, according to Kouyoumdjian “is about what the experience of exhibiting at the MCA, a unique and significant institution, can mean to an artist’s career." 

The exhibition has become synonymous with talent amongst young artists across Australia; one that lifts them into the national spotlight.  Previous artists included in Primavera have gone on to represent Australia in major biennales and triennials, and even work with CSIRO’s Astronomy and Space Science division.  Past participants include; Abdul Abdullah, Shaun Gladwell, David Griggs, Jonathan Jones, Michaela Gleave, Wade Marynowsky, Lucy Simpson, Brown Council, Todd McMillan, Keg de Souza, Mikala Dwyer, and Soda_Jerk, all of whom are graduates from UNSW Art & Design.

Sophia Kouyoumdjian has worked in the arts sector for over 15 years across directorial, curatorial and exhibition management roles. Currently the Coordinator, Parramatta Artist Studios and previously the Acting Director and Curator at Blacktown Arts Centre, Sophia has comprehensive experience in Sydney’s contemporary art community.

Primavera is an annual exhibition for young Australian artists aged 35 years and under. It was initiated in 1992 by Dr Edward Jackson AM and Mrs Cynthia Jackson AM and their family in memory of their daughter and sister Belinda, a talented jeweller who died at the age of 29. The exhibition commemorates Belinda Jackson by celebrating the creative achievements of other talented artists in the early stages of their careers.