Chico Monks is from a family of teaching and practicing artists and is known for his sculpture, painting and performance. He has exhibited widely at galleries and cultural festivals and uses his work to explore identity. He has taught Aboriginal art in various schools, organisations and communities, including Grafton, Lismore and Eora TAFE, Yulang Aboriginal educational unit, Long Bay Gaol, Juvenile Justice, Community workshops & High schools. He teaches at Eora College TAFE, and won the 2014 Gili Award for Teaching.
Ryan Gander’s practice is guided by a keen curiosity with storytelling and narrative construction, and a consideration of the way objects can be used to implicate meaning and transcend their material reality. He graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, and completed post-graduate studies at the Jan van Eyck Akademie in Maastricht and the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Since 2014, he has been planning a new art independent art school in his hometown of Saxmundham, Suffolk. Fairfield International (fairfieldinternational.co.uk) is a residential art school conceived by the Gander with collaborator Simon Turnbull. Gander is exhibiting Other Places, 2018 on Cockatoo Island for the 21st Biennale of Sydney.
Alex Martinis Roe
Alex Martinis Roe is an artist working across video, photography, installation, sculpture and projection. Born in Melbourne, she has been living in Berlin since 2009 and recently returned to Australia to take up the role of Head of Sculpture at ANU School of Art & Design in Canberra. Exploring themes of feminism, storytelling and the relationship between generations of people in her practice, she has been tracing genealogies of feminist political practices her series of film installations titled To Become Two (2014–17). Martinis Roe studied at Monash University, Melbourne; completed a fellowship at Universität der Künste, Berlin (Berlin University of the Arts) between 2013–16 and has held recent exhibitions and workshops in Utrecht, Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Santiago, New York, Grenoble and Christchurch, among other locations.
Mikala Dwyer creates objects, sculptures and installations that re-imagine familiar materials and our environments, producing fantastic and ethereal work. Her works explore ideas about shelter, childhood play, modernist design and the relationship between people and objects. She studied at Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney in the 1980s, where she has continued to teach, and has also been in educational contexts at Middlesex University, London; College of Fine Arts of the University of New South Wales, Sydney; and the Universität der Künste (Berlin University of the Arts). Dwyer recently held a major solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales called A shape of thought and in recent years has exhibited in New Zealand, Australia, Germany and Ireland.
Mami Kataoka is Artistic Director of the 21st Biennale of Sydney, and has held the position of Chief Curator of the Mori Art Museum (MAM) in Tokyo since 2009, and Senior Curator since 2003. Also a writer, lecturer and professor, she teaches at Kyoto University of Art and Design Graduate School. Kataoka is a key figure in analysing socio-historical and generational trends, particularly in the context of Japanese and Asian art, and frequently writes and lectures on contemporary art in Asia. She At MAM, Kataoka has curated numerous notable exhibitions including ‘Roppongi Crossing’ (survey show of contemporary Japanese art) (2004, 2013), ‘Sensing Nature: Perception of Nature in Japan’ (2010); as well as major survey shows of prominent artists in Asia such as Tsuyoshi Ozawa, Ai Weiwei, Lee Bul, Makoto Aida, Lee Mingwei and N.S. Harsha.
Francisco Camacho Herrera
Francisco Camacho Herrera’s practice takes a deliberately political stance, operating at the nexus between social activism and participatory art. Invested in imagining future societies and analysing today’s lack, he created Fulltopia.com in 2015 – ‘a digital platform for exchanging dreams within a local community’ – that aims to create a web community and stimulate collaboration and exchange outside the monetary economy, putting solidarity, social processes and skill-sharing/education ahead of capitalist values. For this year’s Biennale at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Camacho Herrera presents an expanded version of his video project Parallel Narratives, 2015–17, which hypothesises that Chinese sailors crossed the Pacific Ocean and had contact with American societies before the arrival of the Spanish. Alongside the video, Camacho Herrera is conducting a workshop where participants are invited to revisit the ancient art of memory or mnemotechnics, asking participants to consider how memory is entwined in the production and imagination of ideas.
Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation
The Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation (KSCA) is ‘a tiny art school with big ambitions’ that formed in 2016, sparked by a project included in the 2013 Cementa Festival by artist Ian Milliss. Milliss’ poster, Welcome to Kandos, presented a range of fictional projects and alternative scenarios for the post-industrial town of Kandos, in Wiradjuri country in the Central West of New South Wales. For the 2017 festival, an initiative to manifest the impulses described by the poster was realised with the formation of KSCA, instigated by a group of artists and writers including Gilbert Grace and Alex Wisser, among others. Among its subsequent projects, the group are working to establish a land-based residency for artists who work with land, agricultural innovation and ecological phenomena. Current members include Gilbert Grace, Ian Milliss, Kim Williams, Diego Bonetto, Eloise Lindeback, Christine McMillan, Leanne Thompson, Belinda Innes, Lucas Ihlein, Georgie Pollard, Marco Cuevas-Hewitt, Alex Wisser and Laura Fisher. They are based in different locations and the group’s projects bridge urban, regional and rural Australia.
Sa Sa Art Projects
Sa Sa Art Projects was established in 2010 by Cambodian art collective Stiev Selapak in response to the absence of an artist-run space embracing diverse and experimental art practices. The current active co-founders, present for the forum, include Khvay Samnang, Lim Sokchanlina and Vuth Lyno, who are supported by former students and local residents. Sa Sa Art Projects occupied a space in the White Building (originally the Municipal Apartments), a post-independence, social housing complex built in 1963, part of the visionary public and cultural district Bassac River Front, a larger project overseen by Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann. The White Building was re-occupied by artists after the Khmer Rouge, and the neighbourhood grew into a vibrant community of more than 500 households, before the building was demolished in 2017. Sa Sa Art Projects maintains The White Building Art Archive and online database, which collects visual and audio materials produced by art and media students and residents, as well as selected works created in collaboration with local and international visiting artists. In the Biennale at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sa Sa Art Projects presents an installation of archival materials and artworks connected with the White Building community.
Wong Hoy Cheong
Visual artist, educator and political activist Wong Hoy Cheong reimagines and reconstructs histories, suggesting that historical accuracy is neither possible nor desirable. Within this framework, Wong addresses subjects such as colonialism, migration, identity and globalisation. Born in Malaysia, he received a BA in literature from Brandeis University, Massachusetts, in 1982, and an M.Ed. from Harvard University in 1984. In 1986, he received an MFA in painting from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and in 2011 was awarded the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Creative Fellowship. Wong Hoy Cheong is presenting ‘UNcover’, 2015 on Cockatoo Island for the 21st Biennale of Sydney.
Lucas Ihlein is an artist, academic and ARC DECRA Research Fellow in Creative Arts at University of Wollongong. His research uses socially-engaged art to explore cultural innovations in farming – principally in the sugar cane industry in Central Queensland. Utilising a creative practice-based research methodology (including blogging, printmaking, public events and scholarly publication) to explore complex environmental management issues, his current research project, Sugar vs the Reef – Socially Engaged Art and Urgent Environmental Problems, is the focus of his ARC DECRA Fellowship from 2016–18. Ihlein is a founding member of Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation, which in November 2016 hosted Futurelands2, a public forum in rural NSW about transformations in human relationships to land. He is also a founding member of artists’ collectives SquatSpace, Big Fag Press, and Teaching and Learning Cinema.