Over two days this October, UNSW Art & Design's Paddington campus and the nearby urban art project site called 'Perry Lane' will play host to artworks by student and emerging artists as well as some of Sydney’s brightest up-and-coming talent.

Titled Seeing and Being Seen and taking place at sites off the city’s iconic Oxford Street - the events have been devised by students participating in a Curatorial Studio focussed on 'Social Space' at UNSW Art & Design, as part of the Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership. The creative programs involve a dynamic array of performances, installations, video, sound works, sculpture, mural and street painting.

The line-up across Friday and Saturday features more than a dozen Sydney-based artists and includes:

  • Tree Shrining, a colourful installation by Gabrielle Bates, an established artist and MFA student at UNSW, which uses materials produced through community involvement.
  • Mural paintings by Kim Siew whose work is inspired by zine culture, graphic novels and children’s books, and Nev Sety, whose street paintings explore the transmission of knowledge between communities and generations.
  • Mollie Rice’s drawings of the local sound ecology created in a performance that directly responds to site, part of her current MFA research at UNSW
  • Rachel Buchs’ wombat installation, a colourful reflection on the threat to the habitat of Australia’s native animal species
  • BFA student Mehmet Mevlütoğlu’s reworking of the Western Sydney soundscape as a garage-band conceptual artwork playfully titled Maccas Run
  • Luke Power’s intricate, large-scale geometric sculptures that directly respond to architecture and site.
  • A tea ceremony in a tent sculpture by Rosalie Brooker and a performance by Georgia Watkins, both BFA students interested in the construct of gender and female identity.
  • Interactive performances exploring the bonds between us: The Menagerie of Human Relationships, by Anoush Sansom’s performance group; as well as See; Connect by Brooke Ellen Louttit, an alumni of the MCCL programme.
  • Multiplicity, a sound and projection work by Kynan Tan, who is featured in the 2017 Primavera: Young Australian Artists currently on show at the MCA.

For the Saturday event, Perry Lane will be specially closed off to traffic for the day and transformed into a grassy haven with artificial lawn and plants. The laneway event has been timed to coincide with the popular William St Festival and follows a series of interesting art events and activities by the Perry Lane Art Project group aimed at activating the laneway, which included the installation of two eye-catching murals in the space earlier this year.

Course lecturer and curator Julie Louise Bacon explains that: “Laneway culture brings an organic feeling and flexibility to the city, and importantly helps to grow a local sense of place and belonging.

“This is the third year the course has produced events in the city, after great initiatives working with Juniper Hall and Moran Arts Foundation in 2015, and Randwick Council and NOX in 2016. The students gain invaluable hands-on experience as part of their UNSW’s Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership. Each year, a diverse group of students brings a fresh perspective on the urban fabric of Sydney, and explores its overlooked and in-between spaces and stories.”

“The goal of the course is to celebrate community and show the potential for new ways of encountering the city. The course has proven a great way to further strengthen the relationship between the University and broader communities, building partnerships with organisations that share a commitment to social engagement and culture in the process. This year it’s great to work in partnership with Woollahra Council as part of their focus on placemaking and to support the Perry Lane Art Project initiative.

According to Peter Kauter, Woollahra Council’s Manager of Placemaking, the project presents a great opportunity for collaboration between Council, the University of New South Wales and local Paddington businesses.

“Paddington is already a great hub for arts and culture and we really want to harness interest and create another reason for people to visit the iconic area,” Peter Kauter said.

“We hope both locals and visitors to the area will be out and about for the William Street Festival on October 21 and they will wander down to Perry Lane to check out the exhibition.”

Anoush Sansom, a student on Curating: Social Space, reflects on the theme, “We are all participants in a social game of looking and being looked at, seeing and being seen. As an emerging group of curators, our aim is to get inside the workings of this game; to understand how it is played, how it shapes the social space we inhabit and how we might adapt and subvert it.”

Fellow curator, Ivana Jovanovic explains that the event, “Draws inspiration from the history of Oxford St as a site of radical and creative interventions and Paddington as a home to artists, performers and the rise of Sydney’s LGBT movement. This ambitious project reflects on this history in the hopes of revitalising this important area.”

You can catch Seeing and Being Seen on Friday 20th October 5-7pm in UNSW Art & Design's courtyard and adjacent park space, and Saturday 21st October 12-4pm, Perry Lane, Paddington (in conjunction with Perry Lane Art Project, Woollahra Council and coinciding with the William St Festival). Events are free, all welcome.

With thanks to partners UNSW Art & Design, Perry Lane Art Project, Woollahra Council, and the generosity of all participating artists.

For further information and updates on the program visit Seeing and Being Seen and Perry Lane Art Project.