NSW visual arts leaders to mentor at Venice Biennale 2019

A recent announcement by Create NSW and the Australia Council for the Arts reveals the two NSW-based visual arts leaders who have been selected to mentor participants of the Australia Council for the Arts ‘Emerging Arts Professionals Program’ at the 2019 ‘Venice Biennale’.

The selected mentors are Dr Mikala Tai, Director, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, and independent curator Jasmin Stephens who will both travel to Venice with support from Create NSW to take up roles as facilitators, to assist emerging arts workers to gain valuable international networking opportunities and enable them wider participation across this major event on the global arts calendar.

Dr Mikala Tai. Photograph: Vien Tran. Courtesy Create NSW, Sydney

They will each receive $7,500. Tai will participate in the Australia Council’s program, which will run alongside the Biennale’s Vernissage from 4 to 14 May. While Stephens will be involved in a second program scheduled for September/October, and with the support of Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) curator Michael Moran, will coordinate a follow-up roundtable at MAMA in 2020 for the return of the emerging NSW arts professionals and mentors from the Biennale.

Jasmin Stephens. Photograph: Jasmin Stephens. Courtesy Create NSW, Sydney

As a curator, researcher and academic with a focus on contemporary Asian art, Tai has worked towards strengthening ties between Asia and Australia through interactions with local, national, and international organisations. While Stephens’ work in curatorial studies and contemporary Asian art has seen her make contributions to programming across Australia and in Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan conducted by institutions and led by artists.

Create NSW Executive Director for Investment and Engagement, Elizabeth W. Scott says Tai and Stephens ‘are inspiring choices with exceptional sector experience and international networks that will prove invaluable for emerging arts workers during their time at this prestigious event.’

Australia Council Executive Director Strategic Development and Advocacy, Dr Wendy Were said ‘Our professional development programs at the Venice Biennale provide vital opportunities for dozens of Australian arts workers to directly benefit from Australia’s longstanding participation in one of the most significant international arts events.’

‘We are delighted to partner with Create NSW to deliver this wonderful new opportunity for established visual arts leaders that will be so beneficial to the emerging professionals participating in our Venice program.’