Nusra Latif Qureshi | 2019 Bulgari Art Award recipient

Congratulations Nusra Latif Qureshi, recipient of the 2019 Bulgari Art Award. Selected by senior curatorial staff and AGNSW Trustees, this marks the first time the award has been given for a body of work by an artist instead of a single painting.

The Bulgari Art Award supports mid-career Australian painters and consists of $50,000 for the acquisition of paintings for the Art Gallery of New South Wales’s (AGNSW) collection and a residency for the artist in Italy, valued at $30,000.

Qureshi brings together the traditional techniques of South Asian miniature painting with layers of historical and contemporary references. ‘As my practice draws heavily on art historical references, I am looking forward to studying significant artworks in Italian museums,’ said the artist.

Managing Director of Bulgari Australia, Brad Harvey adds, ‘Bulgari is a brand that is synonymous with being bold and designing beautiful creations full of rich and daring colours. Nusra Latif Qureshi’s collection of paintings that have been recognised through the Bulgari Art Award could not be more aligned with our DNA.’

Nusra Latif Qureshi, Distant plains of gold, 2019; Knotting the waves, 2019. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Bulgari Art Award 2019. © Nusra Latif Quresh

The body of work, comprised of six paintings completed during Qureshi’s time living and working in Australia, represent the breadth of her practice.

AGNSW Head Curator of Australian Art, Wayne Tunnicliffe said, ‘Nusra pushes the boundaries of her artist training in Pakistan and other visual traditions such as Pahari painting, which originated in northern India, by combining them with images from colonial photography, textile patterns, silhouettes and botanical paintings to create a richly layered visual language.’

Nusra Latif Qureshi, Descriptions from the past II, 2001; On the edge of darkness I, 2016. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Bulgari Art Award 2019 © Nusra Latif Qureshi

‘Nusra’s paintings often feature female protagonists which transcend time and place, embodying experience across cultures and historical periods. In presenting history as a collection of overlapping fragments that resonates into our present moment, Nusra traces how the past can affect the agency we have in our lives today,’ Tunnicliffe added.

Qureshi’s paintings often contain an autobiographical element, including the Gallery’s acquisition Descriptions from the past II (2001), painted soon after she arrived in Melbourne in 2001 to undertake post-graduate study at the Victorian College of Arts. A figure that resembles Qureshi stands with two golden orbs above her; she is caught between two hovering works. Her experience as a migrant to Australia, negotiating a new society and finding her identity here as an artist have also informed her work.

Past recipients of the Bulgari Art Award include Tomislav Nikolic, Jude Rae, Ildiko Kovacs, Daniel Boyd, Jon Cattapan and Michael Zavros.