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SALA declares hybrid festival a huge success


SALA Festival has announced its 2020 award winners and named Roy Ananda as the 2021 feature artist after this year’s event saw more than 668 exhibitions presented in venues across the state and online.

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“The 2020 SALA Festival has presented challenges for artists, venues and audiences but despite this it has been a huge success with nearly as many exhibitions registered as in other years,” CEO Kate Moskwa says of the month-long festival.

The annual South Australian Living Artists Festival officially closed yesterday, although some exhibitions will continue through September.

COVID-19 saw event organisers decide early in the year to change the format for 2020, with a digital-only program and no deadline for registrations.

However, the easing of restrictions saw a total of 8195 artists participate in a mix of both online and physical exhibitions throughout August, as well as innovative initiatives such as projections and drive-by installations.

Among this year’s award winners are Tom Borgas, who won the Unitcare Services Digital Media Award, worth $5000, for his online exhibition Hyperobject (Speculative Works) – a digital project reimagining the impact of wireless technology as physical manifestations erupting over objects and architecture in the city.

Alycia Bennett won the City of Adelaide Incubator Award for her work as part of the immersive experience SA LA LA LAND, which brought together more than 20 artists at ARTHUR in Currie Street; Makeda Duong’s Mixed Race Female at Nexus Arts Gallery saw her awarded the Don Dunstan Foundation Award for artists exploring social justice themes; and Amber Cronin, whose work was on show in the group exhibition On Being an Artist: 11 Actions at Praxis ArtSpace,  won the City Rural Emerging Artist Award.

Makeda Duong’s Mixed Race Sweater.

Moskwa says the awards (see full list below) recognise artists of different ages and experience working across a range of media and subject matter.

“The judges visited exhibitions state-wide to select the winners and commented on the extremely high quality of the work this year.”

Roy Ananda has been named SALA feature artist for 2021, which means his work will be showcased on the cover of next year’s festival program and poster, and he will also be celebrated through a monograph published by Wakefield Press and written by curator Andrew Purvis, speculative fiction author Sean Williams and emerging writer Bernadette Klavins.

Ananda, who presented a large maze-like installation celebrating Dungeons & Dragons at the 2018 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art at the Art Gallery of SA, frequently explores the intersection of pop-culture fandom and contemporary art practice in his work.

Roy Ananda with his Thin walls between dimensions installation in the 2018 Adelaide Biennial. Photo: Tony Lewis

This year’s SALA feature artist and monograph recipient was ceramicist Kirsten Coelho, who currently has a small selection of her works on show at the AGSA and from mid-October will be presenting a new installation, Ithaca, at the Samstag Museum of Art.

The 2020 SALA award winners are:

Country Arts Breaking Ground Award (previously announced): Juanella McKenzie.

City of Adelaide Incubator Award: Winner – Alycia Bennett. Finalists – Carolyn Corletto, Kelly Reynolds and Sasha Grbich, Alycia Bennett, Kurt Bosecke.

Unitcare Services Digital Media Award: Winner – Tom Borgas. Finalists – Project Light, 10 Barossa Artists Projection Trail; Kasia Tons, Daffodil; Monte Masi, Project 7 The Video Show; Tom Borgas, Hyperobject (Speculative Works).

The City Rural Emerging Artist Award: Winner – Amber Cronin. Finalists – Jonathan Kim, Inner via Outer; Craig Glasson, Line becomes…; Jane Skeer, Open Studio; Amber Cronin, On Being an Artist: 11 Actions.

The City of Unley Active Ageing Award: Winner – John Freeman. Finalists – Stephen Hudson, Once Upon A Time; Salvador Loreto, 2020 The Year That Was; John Freeman, The Inner Journey.

The Don Dunstan Foundation Award: Winner – Makeda Duong. Finalists – Brad Darkson, Hold Me; Makeda Duong, Mixed Race Female; Carolyn Corletto, Open Studio.

City of Onkaparinga Contemporary Curator Award: Winner – Suzanne Close. Finalists – Gabi Lane & eDuard Helmbold, On Being an Artist: 11 Actions; Suzanne Close, The Uncertainty of Knowing; Andy Petrusevics, Project 7 The Video Show.

Still to be announced are the Hither & Yon Venue Award Prize and Credit Union SA School Awards Prize.

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