4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is pleased to announce Minerva Inwald as the recipient of the inaugural 4A Emerging Writer’s Project.

Ahead of the November 2016 launch of the online publication The 4A Papers, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is supporting an Australian emerging writer to participate in Sea Pearl White Cloud, a collaborative two-stage exhibition project between 4A and independent Guangzhou contemporary art space Observation Society that will open on 2 June 2016.

Selected by a panel comprising Michael Fitzgerald, Editor, Art Monthly Australasia; Luise Guest, Director of Education and Research, White Rabbit Collection; and Pedro de Almeida, 4A Program Manager and Editor of The 4A Papers, Minerva will be an integral part of 4A’s project team, travelling to Guangzhou to undertake fieldwork as Observation Society’s exhibition unfolds, and later the exhibition in Sydney at 4A. Her research will see the publication of two critical texts that document the development, realisation and reception of the exhibitions, along with interviews with the artists and ongoing online content.

Pedro de Almeida says, “4A’s inaugural Emerging Writer’s Project attracted application from writers from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. The range of educational, professional and artistic backgrounds from the applicants was also diverse with, for example, some writers having arts journalism experience, while others forging more experimental writing forms through artist-run platforms. 4A looks forward to offering more professional development and publishing opportunities for writers as we establish The 4A Papers later this year.”

Michael Fitzgerald says, “Minerva’s submission was outstanding. Her ongoing historical research in China as a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, and her broader interest in how art objects circulate in the public and private spheres places her as a perfect candidate to contribute meaningfully and intelligently to this unique cross-cultural project.”

Luise Guest remarks, “Minerva’s application was outstanding in a range of ways. Firstly, her recognition that she aims to broaden her critical writing style beyond the constraints of academic writing was refreshing. Her background in carrying out art historical research on the ground in China, at the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), using primary sources, and dealing with the complexities of dealing with a Chinese institution, will clearly be an advantage in quickly assessing the possibilities on the ground in Guangzhou. Her obvious level of fluency in Chinese (Mandarin) will also be an asset to the project. Minerva’s current doctoral research is both interesting and relevant, relating to curatorial practices, museology and the circulation of objects and artefacts. I particularly liked her thoughtful (and highly topical) plan for an extended contemplative essay reflecting on the notion of ‘southern-ness’, and how that plays out in the relationship between the sister cities of Sydney and Guangzhou. Her sample of writing – an extract from a conference paper – indicated her clarity of thought and expression, and her willingness to push against the conventional boundaries of a discipline (in this instance, historical research) indicating the potential for some innovative texts and other modes of communication emerging from the collaboration in Guangzhou.”

Sea Pearl White Cloud is supported by the City of Sydney with the Observation Society exhibition opening being part of the official program of the City of Sydney and Guangzhou Municipal Government’s civic celebrations as part the 30th anniversary of their sister-city relationship. Additionally, the Emerging Writer’s Project is supported by Art Monthly Australasia.

Minerva Inwald is a current PhD candidate in the Department of History, University of Sydney, whose research focuses on the history of the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) between 1958 and 1989. Using Chinese-language primary sources to examine how exhibitions at this prestigious space were used to communicate ideas about the role of art in China in relation to conceptions of ‘the people,’ her research seeks to investigate broader questions of how art objects circulate in museum contexts, as well as outside museums such as in domestic, work and public spheres. Minerva graduated with Bachelor of Arts (Languages) Honours degree from the University of Sydney in 2012, and in the same year was awarded the Francis Stuart Prize for Asian Art History form the Department of Art History. She has contributed a number of papers at academic conferences in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and recently undertook an 8-month postgraduate exchange program at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts.