UNSW celebrates more than 120 emerging creatives in the A&D Annual 2022.

A highlight on Sydney’s cultural calendar, the A&D Annual brings together graduates from UNSW School of Art & Design working across an array of media from installation, animation, digital media, film, visual communication, graphic design, and sound, to painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, furniture, jewellery, textiles, ceramics, design for social innovation, and more.

Professor Edward Scheer, Head of UNSW Art & Design, said the graduates were a testament to the importance of creativity, critical thinking, and resourcefulness as they respond to the social, technological, and environmental issues of our time.

“Congratulations to all our graduating students, and I wish them the very best as they move forward to become the next generation of creative leaders both in Australia and overseas,” said Professor Scheer.

This year’s graduate showcase demonstrates a range of innovative, experimental, and interdisciplinary approaches that look to the future of creative practice. For the first time since 2019, the entire UNSW Paddington campus is activated with new work presented across UNSW Galleries, AD Space, and Black Box, alongside an extensive digital showcase online.

The A&D Annual 2022 is on display at UNSW School of Art & Design, open daily from 10am–5pm, 7-18 December 2022.

Winners & Highly Commended – TWT Excellence Prize

Charles Levi, Bachelor Fine Arts (Honours) was awarded the annual TWT Excellence Prize. The prize is awarded to an outstanding graduating creative practitioner, and generously supported since 2017 by Principal Partner Bridging Hope Charity Foundation and TWT Property Group. The prize includes a $3000 bursary and studio at St Leonards Creative Precinct for a year.

Levi’s winning project Make Your Own Fłag (2021–22) references the Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt, a multi-panel quilt project held at the Powerhouse Museum, and an evocative record of those who were lost to HIV in the 1980s and 1990s. Levi’s work relies on the haptic properties and tactile nature of textiles to embody queer experiential narratives and fleeting feelings through a diverse set of coded symbols. Levi asks the question: “Can a feeling be recorded through collected fabric, connective stitching, and allegory, despite its intangibility?”

The project was selected from 10 shortlisted works that demonstrated promise and professional commitment to becoming a full-time creative practitioner. Also highly commended in the TWT Excellence Prize were Fiona Macpherson, Billie Posters, and Kumiko Delaney. The 2022 judging panel included Dr Clare Milledge, UNSW Senior Lecturer, Katherine Bond, UNSW Associate Lecturer, and Paul McDonald, Artist and Director of Contact Sheet in TWT Creative Precinct.

The panel agreed that Levi’s work “stood out through its combination of raw unfinished fabric and uniquely intimate embroidered details with more universal motifs and symbols”.

“There is a clever and subtle use of negative space with the porous structure of the installation enabling multiple viewpoints and perspectives. Levi’s sophisticated and nuanced conceptual approaches are an indication of both a willingness to experiment and take creative risks, as well as a confidence and maturity of practice.”

TWT Property Group has announced it will be renewing its support for UNSW’s A&D Annual graduate showcase for five years as an Event Partner. It will continue to offer generous support to students through the TWT Excellence Prize, including studio space for 12 months following graduation.

The Director of TWT Property Group, Gavin Zhang, said: “We are so pleased to see how much the TWT Excellence Prize has enabled these young talents in their artistic career development. This year we were delighted to revisit previous award recipients to reflect on the impact of the Prize in a short video. We are committed to contributing to the ever-evolving arts ecosystem here in Australia.”

Winner – Ross Steele AM Fine Arts Prize

Fiona Macpherson, Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours), was selected as the winner of the 2022 Ross Steele AM Fine Arts Prize, a $3000 bursary offered with the generous support of Ross Steele. Also highly commended in the Ross Steele AM Prize were Henry Butterworth, Nicole Zhang, and Kumiko Delaney.

The winning project Surface Tensions (2022) investigates the social psychology of cognitive dissonance surrounding the presence of unspoken abuse. Macpherson “seeks to restore agency over her story” through her painting practice.

The judging panel included Debra Phillips, UNSW Senior Lecturer, and JD Reforma, independent artist and Firstdraft Communications & Development Manager. The judges were impressed by Macpherson’s use of painting to “transform the familiar genre of everyday family photography into a complex and unsettling body of work”.

“The lurid colour palette recalls the way that analogue photographs change appearance over time, particularly in the way magenta can become increasingly prominent. This formal technique resonates with the subject matter and its sense of how personal memories and family narratives can shift and be recontextualised across time.”