Australia’s most iconic cemetery seeks outdoor sculpture and films for 2020 exhibition

Artist submissions are now open for HIDDEN Rookwood Sculptures, an annual outdoor art exhibition held in the gardens and amongst the graves of Australia’s oldest operating cemetery, Rookwood.
Australia’s most iconic cemetery seeks outdoor sculpture and films for 2020 exhibition Wesley Harrop, Zygomaticus. Image supplied.
No image supplied

Sabine Brix

Monday 20 January, 2020

With a total area spanning the size of Sydney’s CBD, Rookwood may seem formidable, but visiting needn’t be a daunting experience thanks to HIDDEN Rookwood Sculptures, an exhibition that allows people to engage with art while admiring the cemetery’s beautiful surroundings. 

‘HIDDEN was created to encourage the public to visit Rookwood Cemetery and to creatively  evolve conversations around our relationships with life and death, as well as history, our cultures and memory,’ said Kath Fries, the curator of HIDDEN 2020. 

Now in its twelfth year, HIDDEN is seeking submissions from emerging, mid-career and established artists across a wide range of artistic approaches, materials and forms. Artists are encouraged to respond to a broad range of themes including history, culture, remembrance, love, cycles of life and the passage of time. 

Following their success in 2019, HIDDEN Films and HIDDEN Students will also continue to ensure there are opportunities available for filmmakers, students and community groups.

‘HIDDEN Films and HIDDEN Students open up exciting opportunities for the broader community to create site-responsive works that engage with Rookwood’s unique surroundings,’ Fries said. ‘It will be a valuable opportunity to explore different ways of working with concepts and the site itself.’

There are artist honorariums across all three sections as well the largest award program HIDDEN has ever had – including the major $10,000 Rookwood Sculpture Award, Western Sydney Artist Award and the new First Nations Artist Award. Non-cash prizes include a three-month residency program at Newington Armory to make a work for HIDDEN 2020 and a new professional development opportunity with Cumberland Council at The Granville Centre following this year’s exhibition.


Lisa Tolcher, In recognition

This year’s judging panel will be comprised of Elyse Goldfinch and Tim Silver for Sculptures, Talia Smith for Films and Wendy Ramsay for Students.

Rookwood is looking for works that stop you in your tracks and are always fascinated by artist interpretations of the exhibition’s themes. Leave your biases at the gates and challenge what you know about cemeteries.

Find out more information or apply by visiting the HIDDEN Rookwood Sculptures website. Submissions close Monday 6 April, with the exhibition running from 19 September – 18 October, 2020.

About the author

Sabine Brix is a writer, editor, podcaster and electronic musician with a specific interest in personal storytelling that captures the essence of why people create. She was the former Online Content Producer at Archer Magazine and editor of the LGBTI website Gay News Network.

She has produced sound art for BBC's Radio4  and composed music for the web series Starting From Now, which screened on SBS. Her debut EP is forthcoming through Parfé Records.

Follow Sabine on Twitter @sabinebrix