AIR announcement

UTS congratulates Amala Groom and Sidney McMahon on being announced as the inaugural UTS Artists in Residence.

The UTS Artist in Residence program is a valuable opportunity for knowledge sharing and cross-disciplinary collaboration of mutual benefit to the artist and university research, and recognises the vital role of the arts in fostering the economic, social and cultural prosperity of our communities. The UTS Artists in Residence will work closely with UTS researchers from January – July 2021.

Amala Groom will work with Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt [Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research], Dr Andrew Burrell [Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building] and the UTS Law Faculty on a historical inquiry into the origins and implications of western legal, political and social authority as a comparative analysis with Aboriginal systems of lore, governance and collectivity. Groom’s residency will support a new body of work to be presented utilising virtual technologies.

Sidney McMahon will work with Dr YK Wang [Faculty of Engineering and IT] to explore new possibilities of audience interactivity through the use of Brain Computer Interface (BCI) technology. Currently used most widely in medical fields, BCI poses future applications that will extend human experience through neuroprosthetics. McMahon’s residency will support the collaborative development of a new interactive sculptural installation.

The UTS Artist in Residence program is generously supported by the Anita and Luca Belgiorno-Nettis Foundation and the UTS Faculty of Engineering and IT, and is administered by the UTS Gallery & Art Collection.

About the artists

Amala Groom is a Wiradyuri conceptual artist whose practice, as the performance of her cultural sovereignty, is informed and driven by First Nations epistemologies, ontologies and methodologies. Her work, a form of passionate activism, presents acute and incisive commentary on contemporary socio-political issues. Articulated across diverse media, Groom’s work often subverts and unsettles western iconographies to enunciate Aboriginal stories, experiences and histories, and to interrogate and undermine the legacy of colonialism. Informed by extensive archival, legislative and first-person research, Groom’s work is socially engaged, speaking truth to take a stand against hypocrisy, prejudice, violence and injustice.

Groom was the 2020 winner of the Wyndham Art Prize, the 2019 winner of the Incinerator Gallery Award, and her practice has been recognised in more than 40 national prizes. Her work is held in private national and international collections and institutional collections including Artbank, Deutsche Bank Collection, Blacktown City Art Collection and Casula Powerhouse Art Centre. She has completed residencies at Artshouse VIC; Bundanon Trust NSW; Campbelltown Arts Centre NSW; Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, NSW; Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery NSW; Mosman Art Gallery NSW; Northern Rivers Performing Arts (NORPA) NSW; Salamanca Arts Centre TAS; Underbelly Arts Festival NSW and Vitalstatistix SA. Groom’s work has been included in more than 50 national and international exhibitions, including The National 2019: New Australian Art, Carriageworks, curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham, and a five year survey of her practice, RE:Union, curated by Sarah Gurich at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery in 2020.

Sidney McMahon is an interdisciplinary artist working across sculptural installation, video and performance, with an interest in architecture, the body, memory and feeling. McMahon’s work brings together distinct cultural contexts, as well as social and economic systems to explore a personal queer narrative. They completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Southern Queensland in 2009, a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) at Sydney College of the Arts (USYD) in 2010, a Master of Art Curatorship at USYD in 2011 and a Master of Fine Arts at Sydney College of the Arts at USYD in 2015.

McMahon was an artist in residence at Parramatta Artists’ Studios from 2016 – 2018, and was awarded the 2017 Parramatta City Council Visual Arts Fellowship. In 2017 they completed a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, and Studio Voltaire, London. In 2018 they completed residencies at Wysing Arts Centre, UK, and a travelling residency between Kyoto and Tokyo organised by Move Arts Japan in collaboration with Asialink Arts. They have shown nationally and internationally in solo, group and curatorial projects in various galleries including, The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (VIC), MOP Projects (NSW), Clearview Ltd (LDN), Open Source Gallery (NY), Auto Italia (LDN), Metro Arts (QLD), and Verge Gallery (NSW).