Zaachariaha’s gremlins prove a winner

Zaachariaha Fielding’s Wonder Drug – a colourful suite of 16 works on paper that he describes as gremlins ­– has won the $15,000 People’s Choice Award for the 2023 Ramsay Art Prize.

The Yankunytjatjara artist, who is also one half of Adelaide-based music duo Electric Fields, says the “gremlins” represent the internal and external battling voices of flattery and insult, pleasure and pain, which he embraces as an opportunity to learn and develop.

“Winning this People’s Choice is the ultimate compliment,” Fielding says in a statement. “As an artist, you put yourself out there and a judgment is always coming – good or bad. When people celebrate what you’ve created, there’s a feeling for me of being shoulder to shoulder with them, rather than in front.

“That is such a beautiful thing. I am so grateful to everyone who voted for my gremlins; I loved making them and I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed them, too.”

An installation view of Zaachariaha Fielding’s Wonder Drug in the 2023 Ramsay Art Prize exhibition at AGSA. Photo: Saul Steed

The biennial Ramsay Art Prize, presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia, is open to contemporary Australian artists aged under 40, with SA artist Ida Sophia winning the prize in 2023 with her performance-based video work Witness. Public voting saw Fielding’s Wonder Drug selected as the People’s Choice winner from the 27 finalists whose work is on show at AGSA until August 27. Earlier this year he won the Art Gallery of NSW’s Wynne Prize for landscape painting.

United in song

More than 100 singers from five leading chamber choirs across Australia will come together in Adelaide from October 6-8 for a three-day festival that promises a “sonically sublime” celebration of choral music from the early Renaissance to the present day.

The inaugural Adelaide Chamber Choir Festival was to be held in 2020 but had to be postponed due to the pandemic. Now, organisers say it will be bigger than originally planned, with audiences able to either attend performances at Elder Hall and North Adelaide’s St Peter’s Cathedral and Christ Church, or live-stream them via the Australian Digital Concert Hall.

The festival has been curated by Adelaide Chamber Singers’ founder Carl Crossin, and will feature the Chamber Singers alongside the Brisbane Chamber Choir, Melbourne-based Polyphonic Voices, the Sydney Chamber Choir and Perth-based choral collective Voyces.

The Sydney Chamber Choir. Photo: Pedro Greig

“Choral music has always been integral to who I am as a musician and, as well as sharing the pure joy of experiencing a live choral performance with both seasoned and new audiences, I hope this festival encourages even greater ‘choral connectedness’ across the country,” Crossin says.

The festival program comprises five concerts featuring choral music by established and emerging composers, including 16 works by Australian composers,12 from women composers and seven world premiere performances. Further details are available here.

Behind the scenes

Guided tours offer a different view of Her Majesty’s Theatre. Photo: Chris Oaten

Guided behind-the-scenes tours of Her Majesty’s Theatre are being brought back to coincide with the 110th birthday of the venue that began life in 1913 as one of Australia’s chain of iconic Tivoli theatres.

The Adelaide Festival Centre, which manages Her Maj, introduced the guided tours for a period when it reopened in mid-2020 following a $66 million rebuild and says they are being brought back “by popular demand”.

Twice-daily tours will be run across five dates from September 26 to October 30 (bookings here), with participants taken backstage to see spaces and features including the autograph wall signed by visiting stars which was dismantled and reinstated in 2020.

There is also an opportunity to visit the rooftop and the Ian and Pamela Wall Gallery, which is home to the Festival Centre’s Performing Arts Collection and is also currently showcasing an exhibition of photographs and other memorabilia from Adelaide band No Fixed Address, who are performing at Her Maj on August 24.

InReview mentorship opportunity

If you’re interested in a career as an arts writer and reviewer, applications are now open for the next round of the 2023 Helpmann Academy InReview mentorship program.

The program connects experienced arts writers with emerging voices, with the aim of strengthening coverage of arts and culture in South Australia. Three emerging writers ­– Michelle Wakim (2021), Gianluca Noble (2022) and Shannon Pearce (2023) ­– have previously completed mentorships and are now freelance contributors to InReview.

The successful mentee in this round will be matched with an InReview mentor or mentors. Over 10 weeks in October-November they will build their skills with the aim to produce a number of written reviews for publication in InReview.

Emerging creatives from any background who have an interest in arts writing and are a graduate from an eligible program at one of Helpmann Academy’s partner institutions are encouraged to apply. You can check your eligibility here, and apply here before the deadline of August 27.

Green Room is a regular column for InReview, providing quick news for people interested, or involved, in South Australian arts and culture.

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