First Indigenous winner of NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship in over 100 years

[by Megan Bentley]


Image: supplied

Artspace Sydney and Create NSW announced last night Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay artist Dennis Golding as the winner of the 2020 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship (valued at $30,000), making him the first Aboriginal artist to win in the award's over 100-year history.   

Cast in cast out reflects upon Golding's childhood memories of growing up in urban environments in Sydney. Until the age of 13 Golding moved from terrace to terrace in the inner-city suburb of Redfern - often referred to as ‘the Block’.


This work aims to understand the practices of colonial occupation and western structures of land ownership by investigating the manufacture, allocation and design of Victorian cast iron panels, which were an iconic architectural feature of the homes in which he once lived.

Golding reproduces original lacework panels by casting them in epoxy resin and iron oxides. These reproductions become fragments of memories accumulated and broken through time as an attempt to decolonise them – while the fence motif symbolises a threshold that keeps people in but also keeps people out. In the self-portrait photograph the artist dismantles one of the panels in the form of a shield, embedding the object with power and memory as he challenges the colonial gaze.

This work provokes the histories and experiences of Golding’s family as well as many other Aboriginal families who lived in terrace homes in the Block.

Cast in cast out acknowledges Aboriginal people’s connection to community and land, as well as the stories of dispossession and removal.

Co-curators Alexie Glass-Kantor and Elyse Goldfinch: 

“We are thrilled that Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay artist Dennis Golding is the 2020 Fellowship recipient and it is timely that this accolade aligns with NAIDOC Week and important recognition of Australia’s First Peoples. Golding’s work Cast in cast out stems from memories of the Victorian lacework that lined the terrace houses in his childhood suburb of Redfern and throughout the work’s development the artist consulted with family, community and peers to embed shared lived experience into the installation. Spanning artistic and curatorial disciplines, Golding is an emerging leader in his community and we are excited to see where this opportunity will take his continued research and practice.” 

With over 100 years of history, the Fellowship is a key exhibition for profiling the dynamism and breadth of emerging contemporary artistic practice in NSW. Valued at $30,000, this Fellowship is offered by the NSW Government through Create NSW to enable a visual artist at the beginning of their career to undertake a self-directed program of professional development. Now in its 24th year at Artspace, it continues to define new generations of contemporary art practice for both artists and audiences.


Each year Create NSW convenes a judging panel of esteemed colleagues to determine the finalists, whom Artspace acknowledges for engaging with insight and passion in assessing what was again a highly competitive round of proposals.


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