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10 talks to the industry members behind fbi radio’s digital art auction

'Tis the season. FBi Radio's bi-annual art auction, which showcases 70 of Australia's best artists right now, is going digital. We spoke to these three industry members, who gave us their top three picks in the auction: Clothilde Bullen, the Senior Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collections and Exhibitions at the MCA; Talia Smith, artist and curator from Aotearoa, now based in Sydney, she has curated exhibitions at Artspace, Artbank, Centre for Contemporary Photography among others and in 2021 will curate for the Ballarat Photo Biennale and UTS Gallery; and Mikala Tai, the director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney.

Clothilde Bullen's picks

Stevie Fieldsend, mira mira, 2019

"Since seeing her work in the studios at Shirlow Street, I fell in love with Stevie's luxurious, visceral objects.  I love the allusion to the internal and external parts of a person's psyche, but more than that, I get a bit lost in the folds and textures that seem to hold and release memory. Complex and thoughtful work."

Kuba Dorabialski, You Can't the fire, 2016

"As one of the judges for the John Fries Award in 2017, we selected Invocation Trilogy #1: Floor Dance of Lenin's Resurrection, and from first encountering that work I'll admit I became a fangirl! I love video work that sneaks past a viewers preconceptions and defences to nail them with 'radical leftist politics' and Kuba's work does exactly that, with choreography!"

Dennis Golding, Beyond the Coastal watch, 2019

"In my community over in the west there are any number of black men who I call my heroes.  They don't necessarily wear capes but they are there, holding strong black women up, caring for their kids and enacting cultural continuity.  In this work the subject is every black man, wearing the cape of the survivor, the carer, the hero.  It's a strong and timely work and it makes my heart happy to see it."

Talia Smith's picks

Nathan Beard, Sarika (Farang), 2019

"I often think of all the photographs there must be of ourselves floating around in old friends albums or distant relatives and how you are a stranger, a moment in time, no identity. I love that Nathan has taken this idea and gilded the stranger with crystals, they are now shimmering forever."

Elena Papanikolakis, Free, noisy, fickle and brilliant…, 2017

"Words and images have a power and their combination can be incredibly powerful or humourous or poetic. That's what I really love about Elena's collage works, the relationships she creates between image/text and truth/history and how that can be challenged by a small edit."

Roberta Joy Rich, Deny / Denial / Denied series, 2016

"In a time where these three words mean so much (though they always have, it's not new!)  I cannot help but be drawn to Roberta's work of which I think is always so important. The people who are supposed to protect deny us of this, the prime minister is in denial and our indigenous and PoC are being denied. 'Powerful' is a word too often used for PoC work when I think it should just be 'truth'."

Mikala Tai's picks

Amala Groom, Dear Art Collector, 2020 

"Nothing seems more important right now that a daily reminder that our actions can create change. As always, Amala is on point."

Zoe Wong, not even in a rice cooker, 2020

"Zoe has such wit! This series of works gave me great delight when I first encountered them and also makes me wonder if I could cook rice without my rice cooker?"

Grace Blake, Understanding by no 4, 2018-19

"I am always seduced by the frames of Grace's work. They are as much the work as the photograph itself. This one is a beauty."

The FBi Radio Digital Art Auction is taking place from June 15 - June 26 via

by Roxy Lola