Cité Residency winners announced

By Amelia Kelly

20 September, 2012

We're delighted to announce the winners of the Power Cité Internationale des Arts residencies for 2013.


The Cité residencies are competitive residencies open to applicants in three categories: contemporary artists, contemporary art writers and students and staff of the University of Sydney. The three-month residency gives vital opportunities to learn in and from Paris, and from the astonishing cosmopolitanism of the Cité des Arts. Since last year we have committed to funding travel to Paris, service charges at the studios, and to contributing to living expenses for our winners. We could not have done this without the support of those alumni and friends who so generously supported our Cité appeal. If you missed that appeal and would like to give for future years, donations can be made via our website here. We will be hosting a reception for 2013 residency winners and all those who gave to our appeal later in the spring, and will be contacting all our donors to let them know this date as soon as it is confirmed. For now, here is an introduction to our winners and the projects they will be working on during their respective residencies.

Prudence Ahrens, Qld

Prue Ahrens is an art historian with special interest in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of the histories and theories of colonialism and post-colonialism, modernism and modernity. She has co-edited the first cultural map of modern networks across the Pacific, Coast to Coast: Case Histories of Modern Pacific Crossings (2010) and is co-author of the first cultural history of Martin and Osa Johnson’s Asia-Pacific films, Across the World with the Johnsons: Film, Photography and American Empire (Ashgate). Her PhD awarded by the Power Institute investigated ‘The Missionary Agenda and George Brown’s Samoan Photographs’ (2004) and as the Terra Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum she researched ‘Travelling Modernisms: American Art and the South Pacific’ (2010). Before taking her current position at Queensland College of Art, Prue lectured in art history at the University of Queensland and was a member of the multi-disciplinary Cultural History Project affiliated with the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies.

Prue’s residency will continue an investigation into the re-imagining of the Pacific in the wake of colonial modernity. Through reference to key archives she will continue a comparative analysis of the work of French artist Paul Gauguin, American John La Farge and Englishman Arthur Studd in Tahiti, asking to what extent each artist painted the modern colony of Tahiti as it was, or as it might be imagined based on the commercial agendas, imperial certainties and/or cultural longings of their imperial metropoles.

Sepideh Farzam, NSW

Sepideh Farzam is originally from Iran however she lives in Australia. Sepideh obtained an undergraduate degree in Electronic Engineering in 1992, and completed a Master of Studio Arts at Sydney College of Arts in 2010 and Master of Fine Arts at SCA in 2012. She has participated in several national and international solo, joint and group exhibitions. Her last major exhibition was part of the Florence Biennale 2011. Her artworks are in the form of installation, sculpture and painting. They are driven from memories and cultural background addressing questions that arise from the feminine in that culture.

Sepideh’s work during the residency will revolve around the relationship between her traditional background and cultural aspects of modernity and post modernity. She will integrate her cultural background with feminist dimensions. Her works will explore the accommodation of the folkways, mores and characteristics of her culture with the vanguard approaches represented in the works of Parisian artists.

Vigen Galstyan, NSW

Vigen Galstyan is a curator and researcher with a sustained interest in cinema and photo-media art. Since 2006 he has curated a number of exhibitions in Australia and in his home country, Armenia. His most recent exhibition is the 2012 Flatlands: photography and everyday space held at the AGNSW, Sydney where he currently works as assistant curator of photographs. Vigen is also the co-founder and head curator of ‘Lusadaran’ Armenian Photography Foundation. He holds an MA degree in Arts Curatorship and has commenced a full-time PhD degree in 2011 at University of Sydney focusing on the legacy of 19th century native Middle Eastern photographers.

The research Vigen will conduct in Paris will be as part of his PhD dissertation, which focuses on the communicative trajectory between the 19th century Ottoman-Armenian photographers Abdullah Frères and the French press: ‘Negotiating photographic modernities. The French connections of Abdullah Frères, 1860-1900’. In particular, Vigen will make use of the archival resources of Parisian institutions such as the Bibliothèque Nationale, Musée d’Orsay, the Nubarian library and the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, which hold crucial materials relating to the close intellectual, artistic and political ties the Abdullah Frères had in France.

Gabriella Hirst, NSW

Gabriella Hirst is a cross-disciplinary artist and Honours candidate at the National Art School, Sydney. Gabriella is interested in the instability of personal and social mythologies and how truths are hybridised and reassembled through memory and story-telling. Her work is largely sculptural, however painting and drawing, the majors in which she completed her BFA at COFA in 2010, are also integral to her practise. Gabriella is drawn towards ritualistic, meticulous processes in the crafting of her work, but likes to counterbalance these with aspects of interactivity and ephemerality. 

During her residency, Gabriella will be expanding work on a project started in 2010, which draws inspiration from the life of 17th Century French feral child Marie Angelique Memmie Le Blanc. With this research project as her scaffold, she will be making work, which deals with the interplay between memory and archiving, and mythologising of reality as a human instinct.


Contact:Susan Thomas