Artbank and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) have announced that UNSW Art & Design lecturer, artist and activist Zanny Begg has been selected as the recipient of the inaugural $70,000 Artbank + ACMI Commission for her proposed work titled The Beehive, about the murder of Sydney activist Juanita Nielsen.

The Artbank + ACMI Commission is a prestigious new three year commissioning initiative that will enable Australian artists and filmmakers to create new works that are 'conceived at the intersection of art and cinema'.

“I am so excited to have been awarded this incredible opportunity from ACMI and Artbank. I hope to work with the legacy of Juanita Nielsen to explore the fate of our inner-city neighbourhoods. The Beehive was chosen as a title to reference Juanita’s distinctive hairdo, but also a poetic disjunction embedded within the ways we think about the city; it is both an industrious, utilitarian, hierarchical hub and a dark sweet cooperative womb,” said Zanny Begg.

Based on the unsolved murder of famous Sydney anti-development campaigner Juanita Nielsen in 1975, The Beehive sets out to examine themes of gentrification, corruption, sex-work, feminism and non-conformist lifestyles. Created using an algorithm, the film will be randomly compiled from a reservoir of scripted fictions, documentary interviews and choreographed sequences exploring the implications of this infamous cold case and how they can applied today. Using the tropes of true crime, the work will morph and evolve with each viewing, offering audiences different glimpses and interpretations of the crime.

“Artbank, together with ACMI, are proud to announce Zanny as the first recipient of the Artbank + ACMI Commission, and we look forward to connecting the outcomes of this project to the broader public through our art leasing program,” said Director of Artbank, Tony Stephens.

ACMI plans to exhibit The Beehive in 2018. 

Dr. Zanny Begg is an artist, curator, theorist and lecturer at UNSW Art & Design. Her research areas include socially engaged practices, critical spatial politics, making art in public space and experimental curatorial practices. She was the director of Tin Sheds Gallery, at the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, Sydney University from 2010 to 2014, where she curated a year-long exhibition program called Emergen/City ( Within this program she curated Baadlands: An Atlas of Experimental Cartography, and edited a book of the same name. In 2011 she co-curated, with Dr Lee Stickells, The Right to the City, at Tin Sheds Gallery and in 2009 she co-curated, with Keg de Souza, There Goes The Neighbourhood, Performance Space. In 2014 Zanny was part of an eight-week curatorial project, exploring utopia, at The Secession, Vienna. Zanny has had articles published in Art and Text, Chto Delat?, Moscow Art Magazine, Afterimage, Broadsheet, Overland among other publications. 

Zanny was invited to Hong Kong for an Australia-China Council Residency (May 2007), Indonesia for an Asia-Link Residency (June 2008), Chicago for a residency with Mess Hall (2010), Indonesia for an Australia Indonesia Institute Residency (2011) and to Barcelona for an Australia Council Residency (2012). Her exhibitions include The List, Campbeltown Arts Centre, Things Fall Apart, Artspace Sydney, Emeraldtown, Gary Indiana, Artspace, Sydney, What Keeps Mankind Alive, Istanbul Biennale, Turkey, the Taipei Biennial, Taiwan, Sharjah Biennale, Plot for a Bienniel film program, United Arab Emirates and Self Education – Self organization, National Centre for Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia. Her work is held in the Cruthers Collection of Women's Art and QAGGOMA among other collections.