Australian Centre for Contemporary Art announces Jessica Clark as third Yalingwa Curator

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Australian Centre for Contemporary Art announces Jessica Clark as third Yalingwa Curator
As an independent curator Jessica Clark has developed an impressive series of exhibitions and projects. Photo: Keelan O’Hehir.

MELBOURNE.- This week the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art welcomed Jessica Clark to the role of Yalingwa Curator. An independent curator and PhD candidate at the Victorian College of the Arts, Jessica will be responsible for conceiving and realising the 2023 Yalingwa exhibition at ACCA, which is the third in a series of First Nations exhibitions arranged as part of the Yalingwa visual arts initiative.

ACCA Artistic Director/CEO Max Delany said Jessica’s achievements as an emerging curator and academic, and her interests in art history, education and exploring inter-cultural relationships between people, place and materials will bring a rich perspective to the role.

“Conversation is central to Jessica’s curatorial practice, who has worked extensively engaging First People’s artistic, cultural practices and community practices. Jessica is an active participant in local and international cultural and curatorial exchange programs, with a curatorial methodology focused on consultation, care and respect”.

“We are excited to have Jessica join the curatorial team at ACCA and to build on the highly acclaimed Yalingwa exhibition series, which includes A Lightness of Spirit is the Measure of Happiness, curated by Hannah Presley at ACCA in 2018, and Stacie Piper’s 2021 TarraWarra exhibition, Wilam Biik,” Max said.

Jessica is a proud Tasmanian Aboriginal woman. She was born in nipaluna, lutruwita (Hobart, Tasmania) and currently lives and works on Wurundjeri Country in Naarm (Melbourne). Her independent practice is focused on fostering critical curatorial engagement with the presentation of Aboriginal art, with an interest in challenging preconceived ideas/ideals about what Aboriginal art is and can be.

Jessica Clark has said of her appointment: “It’s a great privilege to take up the role of Yalingwa Curator at ACCA. I feel honoured to have this opportunity to work in dialogue with the ground-breaking exhibitions that have been previously curated by Hannah Presley and Stacie Piper in this role. I am excited at the opportunity to develop this third iteration of the Yalingwa visual arts initiative and to join the fabulous ACCA team and be guided by their expertise. This will be my first ongoing curatorial appointment in an institution-based context, and I am excited at the new opportunities and platform the exhibition will offer contemporary Aboriginal artists. I look forward to meeting with the Yalingwa Directions Circle, to start the conversations, and connect with artists; their current ideas, interests and contemporary art practices.”

As an independent curator Jessica Clark has developed an impressive series of exhibitions and projects including TELL: Contemporary Indigenous Photography (2017-2018) for the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, the first exhibition in the biennale’s history dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art. As curator for the exhibition VIETNAM: ONE IN, ALL IN (2019-2020), Jessica worked with an entirely First Nations led creative team to develop an interview-based exhibition model in response to the cultural and political sensitives inherent in the honouring and acknowledgement of the service and lived experience of South Australian Aboriginal Vietnam Veterans.

Recent exhibition projects include breathing space (2021) and one (&) another (2020) at Margaret Lawrence Gallery, In and of this place (2021) at Benalla Art Gallery [online], and as part of the team for the national touring exhibition Experimenta Life Forms: International Triennial of Media Art (2021-2023). Jessica is a current participant in the International Curators Program: Asia Pacific Triennial x TarraWarra Biennial (2021-2023), and alumni of: PIAD First Nations Colloquium, South Africa (2019), Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Cultural Keepers Program (2017-2021), Wesfarmers Indigenous Arts Leadership Program at the National Gallery of Australia (2018), Signature Works: Innovation Lab (2018), and the First Nations Curators Program at the Venice Biennale (2017).

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