UNIVERSITY of WA art student Elham Eshraghian has won this year’s $40,000 Schenberg Art Fellowship.
The lucrative prize is handed out to an up-and-coming artist who makes it into PICA’s Hatched exhibition and catches the Schenberg judges’ eyes.
Eshraghian’s digital work Bohran was selected from a field of 30 finalists and the folk at PICA were so impressed they’ve already given her an artist-in-residency.
The work draws on her Iranian Baha’i heritage, combining personal stories with a broader perspective of world history and politics.
“Mum was persecuted as a Baha’i and as a result of the 1979 revolution had to escape,” she tells the Voice.
Bohran features choreographed dance, text and archival footage “that reveals a confident and sophisticated use of her chosen medium and a sensitive and considered approach to difficult subject matter,” the judges said.
The dancers featured in Eshraghian’s video were drawn from the Iranian Baha’i diaspora in Perth.
Now in its 27th year, Hatched showcases some of the best works by emerging artists.
“This year Hatched presents an incredible set of artists’ perspectives connected with personal stories from diverse cultural, social and political backgrounds.
“All of them are a luminous expression of the Australian melting-pot, which greatly contributes to the cultural diversity of this amazing country,” PICA curator Eugenio Viola says.
Displayed throughout PICA’s heritage-listed nooks and crannies, the works feature some of the freshest ideas in Australian contemporary art.
And they’re as varied as the artists themselves, including Mt Lawley artist Claire Gillam, who harnesses the electrical energy of plants to power a series of musical instruments.
When the Voice dropped by, a plant called Grevillea Fangorn (named after a forest in Lord of the Rings) was conjuring notes out of a piano.
Hatched is at PICA, James Street, Northbridge until July 15.
by JENNY D’ANGER