Trauma and humour come together to win TWT Excellence Art Prize


Sydney, Australia: Sydney-based sculptor Joshua Reeves has been awarded the 2019 TWT Excellence prize, selected from more than 150 graduating students presenting work in UNSW Art & Design’s ANNUAL 19 Graduate Exhibition.

Found objects and traces of trauma have triumphed at the 2019 TWT Excellence Prize with sculptor Joshua Reeves recognised at the UNSW Art & Design ANNUAL 19 Graduate Exhibition.

The UNSW Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) graduate will receive a $5,000 grant in recognition of his work, Lower Middle Arse, which explores tough times through a humorous lens.

Reeves was selected from over 150 creative practitioners presenting their final projects for the A&D ANNUAL 19 Graduate Exhibition.

Reeves’ work uses “junk and everyday objects, especially objects that have been in [his] traumatic memories” to “create a space that is accessible, multilayered and sensitive”.

“The work is a retelling of stories, feelings, truths with an openness to playful iterations of hard times,” he says. “I love making people laugh, and I’ve found jokes and humour to be a really great way to open up conversations around domestic abuse and trauma.

“Writing and drawing are also central to my practice. I’m always drawing the objects I find and moving them around the page. It’s a very productive space for me to generate ideas and keep my ideas flexible before I make sculptural decisions.”

Established in 2017, the TWT Excellence Prize is awarded to the top graduating artist announced at the opening of the A&D ANNUAL 19 last night, with this year’s exhibition showcasing over 150 submissions.

The A&D ANNUAL 19, running until 14 December 2019, is the largest national showcase of graduate contemporary work with UNSW Art & Design students presented across four venues.

This year’s exhibition encompasses film, animation, photography, sound, digital media and graphic design, as well as painting, object design, sculpture, printmaking, and textiles.

“UNSW Art & Design has an outstanding record for producing critically acclaimed artists and the ANNUAL 19 exemplifies this. We are proud to producing the next generation of cutting-edge artists and designers,” says Dean Ross Harley.

“We are delighted to have support from TWT and Bridging Hope Charity Foundation as we commemorate the students.”

Reeves’ winning artwork was selected by the 2019 judging panel: Art & Design Deputy Dean Marie Sierra, Deputy Head of School (Design) Dr Mark Ian Jones, academic Debra Phillips, and artist Caroline Rothwell.

TWT Property Group Director, Gavin Zhang, said: “TWT is delighted to announce Joshua Reeves as the 2019 TWT Excellence Prize winner. TWT and the Bridging Hope Charity Foundation are proud supporters of the A&D ANNUAL Graduate Exhibition as we commend of the next generation of emerging artists.”

The TWT Excellence Prize shortlist included Art & Design graduating artists Holly Dixon, Sian Kelly, Lisa Dwyer and designers Forough Najarbehbahani and Anqi Gao, who was highly commended for her work, Ocean Coffee Dream.

The A&D ANNUAL 19 Graduate Exhibition runs until 14 December at UNSW Art & Design Paddington,

/Public Release.