University of Western Australia: Another top art award for Forrest Creative Fellow

Forrest Research Foundation Creative Fellow and award-winning Iranian-Australian Bahá’í video artist, director and researcher Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson has been awarded joint winner of the Ellen Jose Art Award Exhibition for her audio-visual installation edges of place (2022).

Ms Eshraghian-Haakansson’s winning artwork is part of the virtual reality research she is developing for her Fellowship (The Virtual Architecture of Empathy) and her Spaced arts organisation project Know Thy Neighbour #3.

Managed by Bayside Gallery in Melbourne, the Ellen José Art Award for young women is a partnership between the Foundation and Bayside City Council and aims to provide support to young female artists in the early stages of their career.

It provides $15,000 to a female visual artist aged 18-35 years working in any medium in the hope it will support the winning artist’s continued development by providing recognition as well as a financial boost.

Ellen José (1951-2017) was a pioneer in Australia’s urban Indigenous art movement and a radical activist and social justice campaigner.

Ms Eshraghian-Haakansson shared the inaugural award with Moorina Bonini, for her video work Gowidja (After) 2021.

In a joint statement the judges, Artistic Director and CEO For the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Max Delany and Associate Provost at the University of Melbourne, Professor Marcia Langton AM congratulated all the participating artists for “their ambitious, inspiring and moving works”.

“We have elected to share the Award amongst two artists, in recognition of two outstanding and especially sophisticated works,” the statement said.

“As was the case in the work of Ellen José, both artists combine rich poetry with powerful politics, in both form and content. Both works engage archival and public histories which they movingly entwine with their own family histories and personal narratives.

“In very different and specific ways, both works attest to histories of people being dislocated and displaced from their homelands.”

Ms Eshraghian-Haakansson said she was moved to be the recipient of the award, “in particular being part of an empowering exhibition alongside a number of phenomenal artists, to honour Ellen Jose’s legacy of social justice in art.”

The exhibition, curated by Joanna Bossi, is on display until 28 August.

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