This year's Archibald prize-winner and selected Australian representatives for the 2009 Venice Biennale are among the artists featured in an exhibition at COFA's Ivan Dougherty Gallery this week.

The first Leading Lights exhibition, which opens on Thursday, celebrates COFA graduates who have achieved national and international recognition.

Exhibition curator Felicity Fenner says designers and artists were chosen based on their success.

"This is the first time we've brought outstanding graduates together as the rationale for an exhibition," she says. "We realise 'success' is difficult to define, but in this case we looked for prize-winning artists, critical acclaim and consistent inclusion in major exhibitions and events."

Archibald prize-winner Del Kathryn Barton, will exhibit her highly regarded paintings known for their vibrant, figurative imagery and illustrative style.

Next year's Australian Venice Biennale representatives, Shaun Gladwell, Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, will exhibit the art that has brought them international fame since graduating.

Gladwell, a painter, sculptor and video-artist, is well-known for his videos depicting various subcultural stylings and street stunts such as skateboarding, BMX biking and break-dancing. Healey and Cordeiro have continued their artistic partnership since meeting as COFA students eight years ago and their installation art explores issues relating to housing, demolition, gentrification and decay.

Recent graduate and 2008 Bombay Sapphire Design Award winner, Trent Jansen, will exhibit examples of the design style that inspired international design group Moooi to produce and exhibit his Pregnant Chair at this year's Milan Furniture Fair.

Others Leading Lights artists include: Bronwyn Oliver, Vanila Netto, Adam Cullen, Dinosaur Designs, The Kingpins, Lindy Lee, Owen Leong, Clinton Nain and Brooke Andrew.

Media Contact: Fran Strachan | 9385 8732 |