Emerging artist in the spotlight at national graduate exhibition

 

Queensland College of Art graduate Mandy Quadrio  is one of 30 emerging artists from across Australia chosen to exhibit at the Hatched National Graduate Show.

The prestigious exhibition at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art has been running since 1992, and showcases the country’s best up-and-coming artists.

The works on display this year span a range of disciplines including painting, sculpture, installation, sound and video.

Mandy said her selection for Hatched was “a really big deal”.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to showcase my work at a national level, I feel quite privileged,” she said.

Mandy’s sculptures, which formed part of her Honours project, are made from a range of materials, including steel wool, kelp, shells and string. Viewers can move around and through the works – some of which hang suspended in midair, while others are freestanding.

The collection, Holes in History, refers to the invisibility and attempted erasure of the Indigenous palawa women of Tasmania – Mandy’s ancestral home.

“This project literally began at my kitchen sink,” she said.

“I started playing around with steel wool, and I chose it for these works because it speaks to the harsh abrasiveness and scrubbing out of indigenous culture,” she said.

“I create art to share our stories and experiences and to give us legitimacy.”

Queensland College of Art fine art lecturer Dr Laini Burton is supervising Mandy’s doctoral thesis and said her work explored vital issues.

“Mandy’s current PhD topic is a continuation of her Honours research, which sought to redress the losses, invisibility and erasures of palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) women throughout history,” she said.

“Mandy’s PhD now gives her the opportunity to engage with Eurocentric fictions claiming the extinction of Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

“Her research and practice seeks to reinstate the voices of palawa people, past and present.”

Mandy graduated from the QCA’s unique Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art (CAIA) program in 2016, and says the course encouraged her to reconnect with family and country.

“There is no other course like it, and it really increased my knowledge and understanding of where I come from and where I belong,” she said.

“It allows Indigenous artists to break out of the expectation that all Aboriginal art is dot paintings.

“We are a diverse bunch and we all bring different stories to the table, and studying at Uni encourages us to think conceptually about our practice.”

Queensland College of Art Director Professor Derrick Cherrie said Mandy was one of many promising artists to emerge from the QCA’s unique Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art (CAIA) program.

“We are delighted to see Mandy’s work selected for this national exhibition,” he said.

“Hatched provides an opportunity for graduates to present their work in a leading contemporary art gallery alongside their peers from across the country, as well as opportunities for international exposure.

“The fact that our graduates are consistently represented at Hatched reflects the calibre of students studying at the QCA.”

After graduating from CAIA, Mandy completed an Honours degree in Fine Arts, winning the Griffith University Medal for Outstanding Academic Excellence.

As well as exhibiting at Hatched, Mandy will have her first solo show at Metro Arts later this year, and her work is currently on display in Brisbane’s CBD as part of the annual Maiwar Festival.

“I’m so excited about my first show – Metro Arts is a great place to present art, and they have been so supportive,” she said.

“I’m also really pleased to be able to take my art on to the streets as part of Maiwar – public art is really important and it makes the work more accessible to people who might never venture into a gallery.”