James Nguyen is the second recipient of the $80,000 Copyright Agency Partnerships Commission, in collaboration with ACCA

July 6, 2022

The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) and the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund are pleased to announce Melbourne artist James Nguyen is the second recipient of the Copyright Agency Partnerships (CAP) Commission.

The commission is part of a three-year series run by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund with leading Australian arts institutions 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Sydney), Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (Melbourne) and the Institute of Modern Art (Brisbane) to support mid-career and established visual artists with an $80,000 artistic commission and solo exhibition opportunity. 50 artists applied for this year’s commission, which was assessed by a panel of representatives from the partner institutions and the Copyright Agency.

Born in Vietnam and based in Narrm/Melbourne, James Nguyen’s interdisciplinary practice moves between live and online performance, video, drawing and installation. He is interested in personal history and migrant absurdities, often working with his family and friends to examine the politics of art, self-representation, displacement and diaspora.

For this project, which will encompass a major exhibition across all four ACCA galleries opening in September 2023, Nguyen plans to create Open Glossary, a multi-lingual installation that opens up the language and terminologies that permeate contemporary art and society more widely. Nguyen will collaborate with academics, community members and social enterprises to create a series of multilingual glossaries and language toolkits to bring non-English and plain-English speaking communities into artworld conversations.

‘The artworld has the privilege of literacy and access to text’, Nguyen says. ‘It is where artists and our communities push for social change, contesting important ideas and concepts. But what of the many communities that do not necessarily speak, or feel they can engage with the complex terminologies of contemporary art?’

Photograph by Damian Gibney, courtesy of ACCA

Max Delany, ACCA Artistic Director & CEO said: ‘James Nguyen left a career as a pharmacist to study art full time, and is today one of Australia’s most compelling artists – injecting a sense of humour and play into his work whilst interrogating issues around histories of colonisation, migration and cultural identity. We are especially pleased to be working with James towards the realisation of this ambitious project and exhibition, which will continue ACCA’s annual Contemporary Australian Solo exhibition series.’

‘We are extremely grateful to the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund for this collaboration, and for their visionary support of contemporary Australian artists to make substantial new, ground-breaking works’, Max said.

Copyright Agency CEO Josephine Johnston says ‘This is such a timely and important commission for James, and we are delighted that our partnership with ACCA through CAP provides the financial support for James to work uninhibited, as well as receiving the unique expertise from ACCA to deliver an outstanding exhibition.’

‘What a total privilege to work with ACCA, Copyright Agency and their audiences,’ James says.  ‘Leading up to this project, I did a PhD on language brokering and translation at the UNSW Art & Design under the guidance of Professor Jennifer Biddle and Dr Veronica Tello. My practice has been shaped by the many conversations and endless patience of all my teachers, parents, aunties, uncles, lovers, friends and strangers.’

James Nguyen has been the recipient of several prizes and awards, including the Clitheroe Foundation Scholarship, the Nillumbik Art Prize for Contemporary Art, and the Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship. His work has been included in group exhibitions across Australia, including The National in 2019. Recent solo exhibitions include Re:Tuning, (with Victoria Pham and collaborators, forthcoming at the Sydney Opera House), 2022, Re.Sounding, (with Victoria Pham and collaborators), Samstag Museum, Adelaide, 2021, Homesickness, (with Nguyen Thi Kim Nhung) a commission by the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 2018; and BuffaloDeer, (with Nguyen Ngoc Cu) Westspace, Melbourne 2016.

In 2021 TextaQueen was announced as the first recipient of the Copyright Agency Partnerships commission and their exhibition Bollywouldn’t opens late October at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. The third Copyright Agency Partnership will be offered in 2023 with the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane.

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Jane Morey
morey media
m: 0416 097 678
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