Emerging painter and illustrator Henry Curchod originally moved to England, intending to study economics.

“It wasn’t right, it wasn’t really me. I was kind of pursuing something that was wanted of me by the world,” the UNSW Art & Design alumni said.

“You do wake up and you realise ‘do I really want to be doing this thing for the rest of my life?’

“And trying to tackle the relationship between resources and supply and demand is something that computers can do now.”

The 26-year-old describes his painting and drawing as “generally quite figurative, but there always a surrealist element to it”.

Since graduation, he has been shown at the Art Gallery of NSW; won four awards, including the Fortyfive Emerging Art Award last year; and been involved in public art projects.

“One big one in Santiago, which was pretty amazing to see something that you drew once on a piece of paper become like 200 metres big – it’s pretty amazing,” he said.


Henry Curchod (photo by Jim Parry)

He is one of many UNSW Art & Design alumni exhibiting at Sydney Contemporary, Australia’s leading international art fair at Carriageworks from September 13 to 16.

The line-up for 2018 includes almost 100 well-known galleries, showcasing some of UNSW Art & Design alumni such as Adam Cullen, Paul Connor, Julie Williams and Janet Laurence.

Sydney Contemporary describes Curchod’s art practice as promoting “a playful perspective of the modern human condition”.

“Usually my shows are far less obviously autobiographical, but this one is,” the artist said.

“I quit smoking and drinking and this is about my battle with quitting cigarettes.

“So every painting in the show has smoke to some degree in it, but I’ve either personified it or tried to give smoke a personality in some way.”

As part of Sydney Contemporary, Curchod will talk about the nuance of human gesture in a talk at STACKS Projects in Potts Point on September 13.

The painter says the audience can expect to see “some quite troubling paintings”.

“The paintings are quite challenging, they wouldn’t go with your rug that well, they are not necessarily easy paintings to digest, which is both good and bad.”

Multidisciplinary artist Mehwish Iqbal works across sculpture, painting, print, installation and textile art and has been shown extensively across Australia, Turkey, Pakistan, Hong Kong and the US.

“My current research focuses on the refugee/migrant diaspora arising from the Middle East and entering foreign territories and their complex reception,” the UNSW Master of Fine Arts 2011 alumna said.

“I am interested in highlighting the voices of minorities, examining man made divisions, social and cultural barriers and their impact on society at large.”

The Pakistan-born artist is currently working towards a solo show in New York and is exhibiting works from her Tombstones series at the .M Contemporary Gallery at Sydney Contemporary.

“The work excavates sublime layers of personal history of individuals belonging to refugee communities that I had the privilege to carry out artist workshops with,” she said.

“It explores the ephemeral and transitory nature of life and deeply ponders on the fragile and complex state of humanity.

“The work creates parallels between human and animal characteristics and questions if we are any better when it comes to survival tactics and exploitation of the weak.”

Clara Adolphs graduated from UNSW ten years ago with a Bachelor of Fine Art.

“My first years out of university were really spent digesting my time there and focusing on figuring out what my voice and style was,” she said.

Her predominantly figurative oil paintings “sometimes leaning towards abstraction” mostly reference abandoned photography.

The Edwina Corlette Gallery, which, along with Chalk Horse Gallery, is exhibiting Adolphs’ paintings at Sydney Contemporary, states: “Using photographs collected from flea markets and old newspaper clippings, Adolphs reimagines the anonymous faces and locations in thick impasto paint, working quickly to capture the stories that emerge.”

The artist has won a string of awards, including the Eva Breuer Traveling Art Scholarship from the Art Gallery of NSW, which saw her travel to Paris for a three-month residency earlier this year.

“It was a real dream,” she said.

“For [Sydney Contemporary] I am building on a body of work made at the Cité

 International des Arts in Paris… and some more recent work with Edwina Corlette Gallery.”

For all the details about Sydney Contemporary 2018, please see here.