Zanny Begg, photo by Steven Siewert, 2019
Zanny Begg lives in Bulli, on Dharawal land, and is an artist and film maker who is interested in hidden and contested history/ies. She works with film, drawing and installation to explore ways in which we can live and be in the world differently: this has included working with macro-political themes, such as alte-globalization protests, and in micro-political worlds, such as with kids in a maximum security prison. She is the winner of the 66th Blake Prize Established Artist Residency 2021, she was one of six artists selected for the ACCA Open commission 2020, was the 2018 winner of the inaugural ACMI and Artbank film commission, the 2016 winner of the Incinerator Art Award, Art for Social Change, the 2016 winner of the Terrence and Lynnette Fern Cite Residency Paris was chosen by Werner Herzog to attend his Rogue Film School, 2015. Her recent film works include; Magic Mountains (2020), Stories of Kannagi (2020); The Beehive (2018); The City of Ladies (with Elise McLeod); The Bullwhip Effect (2017); How to Blow up a Bubble that Won’t Burst and 1001 Nights in Fairfield (2015); and Doing Time (2014).
Zanny has been involved in a variety of social justice campaigns including the June 2016 Art Changes Lives campaign against federal arts funding cuts and the 2014 campaign against Transfield’s investment in mandatory offshore detention and its sponsorship of the Sydney Biennale. Her art work is often collaborative, she has worked with Jiva Parthipan, Elise McLeod, The Choir of Love, Oliver Ressler, Keg de Souza, Safdar Ahmed, Refugee Art Project, Dmitry Vilensky (Chto Delat?) among others. Zanny is a regular volunteer with the Flame Tree Food Co-op and rides an electric bike.
Zanny has a PhD in Art Theory with a focus the emergence of Socially Engaged Art practices between the 1999 protests against the World Trade Organisation Meeting in Seattle and the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. She was the director of Tin Sheds Gallery, the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney (2010-2014) and was a lecturer at UNSW Art and Design where she created the subject Socially Engaged Art (2014-2020). A new book on The Beehive is coming out in 2021, her recent articles include “Unthinking Utopia – Borderlessness as Method“, Utopia Pulse – Flares in the Darkroom, Pluto Press, “Transfield, Mandatory Detention, and the Biennale of Sydney” (with Ahmet Ögüt), Afterimage, 42(2):4-7 31 Aug 2014 and The Boys Home: Making Art in a Juvenile Detention Centre, The Conversation.
Interview between Zanny Begg and Peter McKay for Social Networking, Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland, 2012.
Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Campbeltown Arts Centre
Cruthers Collections of Womens Art
The Neuer Berliner Kunstverein
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Australian Centre for the Moving Image Collection
Queensland University Art Collection
Recent exhibitions / projects:
2021: The Bullwhip Effect, MONA FOMA, Tasmania
These Stories Will be Different, Museum and Galleries NSW mini-retrospective, multiple venues
The Cities of Ladies (with Elise McLeod), University of Queensland Gallery
2020: Magic Mountains, new commission for ACCA Open
Action Star, PYT, in development
Sleeplessness, PYT, in development
Stories of Kannagi, Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart
2019: The Beehive, Sydney Festival, UNSW Galleries, Sydney (solo), Haunt, IMA, Brisbane and shortlisted for the Lichter Art Prize, Frankfurt
Designer for Playlist, Sydney Opera House
The City of Ladies (with Elise McLeod) in We Women* are going to insist on fighting for our rights, rotor, Gratz
How to Blow up a Bubble That Won’t Burst, Kilowatt-Summer, Margherita Gardens, Bologna
2018: The Beehive, ACMI, Melbourne (solo show)
Designer for Playlist, PYT, Fairfield
The Bullwhip Effect, in “The Long Paddock”, Bank Art Museum Moree, NSW.
The City of Ladies (with Elise McLeod), in “On the Shoulders of Fallen Giants”, Industrial Biennale, Labin, Pula, Raša, Rijeka and Vodnjan and “The Idea of the Avant-Garde”, NeMe, Cyprus.
2017: Anubumin (with Oliver Ressler), Open Space, Vienna
The Bullwhip Effect, in The Long Paddock, Wagga Wagga Gallery, NSW, and exhibited as part of the shortlist exhibition for the Artbank Established Artist Fellowship exhibition, Artbank.
The City of Ladies (with Elise McLeod) in The National, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Odessa Biennale Ukraine and My Life to Live, Nova Gallery, Zagreb
Feminania (with Elise McLeod), nominated for the Redlands Prize, National Art School Gallery
Nothing else but cant, Cartography of Imagined Places, New York and Cementa, NSW
2016: Turn in Exhaust, Contemporary Art Tasmania
How to Blow up a Bubble that Won’t Burst, in Imagine a City – 200 Years of Public Architecture in NSW, The State Library, Sydney, Summer School, Box Copy Brisbane and URBNE Film Festival, Milan
1001 Nights in Fairfield shortlisted for the Blake Prize (2015), Casula Powerhouse, Sydney (selected for touring exhibition exhibited at Wangaratta Art Gallery), shortlisted for the Fisher Ghost Award (2015), finalist in the LICHTER Art Award (2016), Frankfurt, selected by Werner Herzog for participation in the Rogue Film School (2016), screened Melbourne International Film Festival (2016), Antenna Documentary Film Festival (2016) and Winner of the Incinerator Art Award, Art for Social Change (2016), outstanding contribution Whyalla Art Prize (2016).
The Swamp (Undrawing the Line), in safARI, Sydney, Video in Progress, Ljubljana, One Night at the Museum, Fairfield Museum and Gallery and Kings School Art Prize
The Right of Passage (with Oliver Ressler), in If All Relationships Were to Reach Equilibrium, Then This Building Would Dissolve, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK, and featured in Facets Vol. 1, Disruptive Film.
In the Shade of the Waq Waq Tree (Undrawing the Line), MOCAK – Museum of Contemporary Art, Krakow, Housing the Many exhibition and conference, Gängeviertel , Hamburg.
2015: The Chant of Nudimmud (Undrawing the Line), Refuge, Verge Gallery, Sydney, Utopia Pulse – Flares in the Darkroom, Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart.
How to Blow up a Bubble that Won’t Burst, Groundwork: From the Archives Up, Gaffa Gallery, Sydney, RMIT Design Hub, Melbourne
Doing Time, All Stations... Kudos Gallery, Sydney
1001 Nights in Fairfield, Fairfield City Museum and Gallery, Sydney, Little Baghdad, Powerhouse Youth Theatre, Fairfield.
The Right of Passage (with Oliver Ressler), “Artists’ Cinema”, MSU – Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (HR), 10.04.2015; and Fotograf Festival, Prague (CZ), 02.10.2015
2014: Utopia/Jump in The “Survival Kit 6”, The former ‘Boļševička’ Textile Factory at Ganību dambis 30, Riga, San Mauro Cilento (Salerno) and “Utopia Island, Fragments and Moments for new Utopias”, Utopia Pulse – Flares in the Darkroom, the Secession, Vienna.
Doing Time, “The List”, Campbeltown Arts Centre, Sydney, the Blake Prize, UNSW Galleries.
The Right of Passage (with Oliver Ressler), “To Have and Have Not”, ACC Galerie, Weimar (D), 07.12.2013 – 02.02.2014, “Silent University”, Le 116 – Centre d’art contemporain, Montreuil (F), 21.02.2014, 10.05.2014, “The Occidental Accident”, 5th Biennale of Marrakech, Marrakech (MA), 26.02 – 31.03.2014, “Fragile Hands (after Marker)”, University of Applied Arts/Heiligenkreuzerhof, Vienna (A), 12.03. – 10.04.2014, EMAF 2014 – 27. European Media Art Festival, Osnabrück (D), 24.04.2014, “Political Imaginaries: Making the World Anew”, Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk (PL), 30.04. – 15.06.2014 (solo-exhibition O. Ressler), “The Occidental Accident”, One Nest stand #17, Den Haag (NL), 17.07.2014, “Specters. A cinè-politics of haunting”, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (E), 26.11.2014,
In the Shade of the Waq Waq Tree (Undrawing the Line), part of Utopia Pulse – Flares in the Darkroom, The Secession, Vienna, Protest Songs: Artful Actions at Lismore Regional Gallery, 2014 and Quo Vadis: the Last Drawing Show, UNSW Galleries.
Treat (or Trick) in Moon Workers, partnership between Museum of Contemporary Art of Santiago de Chile and the Academy of the Arts of the World, Colonge, 2014.
2013: The Right of Passage (with Oliver Ressler), “To Have and Have Not”, HALLE 14, Leipzig (D), 04.05. – 07.07.2013, “The Sights/Sites of Cultural Studies”, ACS Summer Institute, Klagenfurt/Celovec (A), 25.07.2013, “Off Side – Video Pamphlet Review”, La Rada/Locarno Film Festival, Locarno (CH), 09.08. – 18.08.2013, “Have the wanderers of yesterday become today’s bag packers?”, Shiryaevo Biennale/Victoria Gallery, Samara (RU), 09.08. – 25.08.2013, “Unseen Cinema”, Foam/Unseen Photo Fair, Amsterdam (NL), 26.09. – 29.09.2013, “Citizenship, Orientalism and the Commons”, Oecumene Project and Teatro Valle Occupato, Rome, 28.09.2013, “Général Bordure”, Le Quartier, Centre d’art Contemporain de Quimper, Quimper (F), 03.10.2013 – 12.01.2014, Antenna Documentary Festival 2013, Sydney (AU), 10.10. – 14.10.2013, “Unstable Territory. Borders and identity in contemporary art”, Centre for Contemporary Culture Strozzina, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence (I), 11.10.2013 – 19.01.2014, Art Sheffield 2013 / Bloc Projects, Sheffield (GB), 16.10.2013, “Smuggling Anthologies”, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka (HR), 22.10. – 04.12.2013, AC Institute, Film Series, New York (USA), 31.10. – 16.11.2013, “The Movement of Ideas” (film retrospective O. Ressler), Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva (CH), 19.11.2013,
The Focus Group, OK Video Festival, Jakarta
This is Not A Citizen, Screen City, Stavanger, Norway
The Bull Laid Bear (with Oliver Ressler), in It’s the Political Economy Stupid, “Crisis and Alternatives”, Belgrade
2012: Treat (or Trick) in Forays. Systems of Self-Interest – Mechanisms of Looting, Kunstraum Lichtenberg, Berlin.
What Would it Mean to Win? (with Oliver Ressler) in Things Fall Apart, Artspace, Sydney
Emeraldtown, Gary Indiana in Social Networking at Queensland Gallery of Modern Art Media Gallery, Queensland.
The Bull Laid Bear (with Oliver Ressler) in Berlin Biennial, eva International, Limerick Biennial of Visual Art, Diagonale Film Festival, Gratz, Austria, It’s the Political Economy Stupid, Austrian Cultural Forum, New York, After The Crisis, is Before the Crisis, Galleria Arte, Milan, and Occupy Art, Artspace Seminar Room, Sydney.
2011: The Focus Group in Sharjah Biennale, Plot for a Biennial film program, United Arab Emirates
Treat (or Trick) in It’s the Political Economy Stupid, Open Space, Vienna
2010: Emeraldtown: Gary, Indiana, Artspace, Sydney (You Are Here)
ReMake Estate, project with an abandoned house, Gary, Indiana, USA (You Are Here)
Cities Without Maps in Finalist Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship exhibition, Artspace Sydney (You Are Here)
What Would it Mean to Win? (with Oliver Ressler) in A World Where Many Worlds Fit, An exhibition on the counter-globalization movement, Foreman Art Gallery of Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, Canada
Pemulwuy Dream Team in RESPECT, Australia Council for the Visual Arts, Window Gallery
Treat (or Trick) in Una selezione delle Bienali di Istanbul a Atene, Palazzo Valle, Catania
The Focus Group in Proposals for a Socialist Colony, Skydive, Housten, USA
2009: Treat (or Trick) in What Keeps Mankind Alive, Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul, Turkey, Reciprocity, Centro Cultural de Espana Beunos Aires, Argentina
Electrification of Consumer Brains in Without_us, Motorenhalle, Dresden, Germany
Pemulwuy Dream Team in There Goes The Neighbourhood, Performance Space, Sydney
What Would it Mean to Win? (with Oliver Ressler) in Disobedience – An ongoing video archive, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania
2017: Winner of the ACMI and Artbank 2018 Film Commission
Shortlisted for NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (Established)
Selected for HIVE Lab, Adelaide
Shortlisted for The Redlands Konica Minolta Prize, National Art School
2016: Shortlisted for The Blake Prize for Religious Art
Finalist LICHTER Art Award, Frankfurt
Winner of the Terrence and Lynnette Fern Cite Residency Paris
Parramatta Artist Studio Resident 2016
Participant in 2016 Rouge Film School with Werner Herzog
Winner Incinerator Art Award, Art for Social Change
2015: Bundanon Residency, New Landscapes Institute
Powerhouse Youth Theatre Residency, Fairfield
2014: Australia Council for the Arts Experimental and Emerging Art Grant
Finalist Blake Prize for Religious Art
Finalist for the Paramor Prize: Art + Innovation 2015 (Outstanding Contribution)
Residency Reiby Juvenile Justice Centre, Airds.
2013: Expanded Architecture Residency, The Rocks
2012: Australia Council for the Arts Residency Barcelona
2011: Residency with Australia Indonesia Institute Residency
Finalist Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship (You Are Here)
2010: Artspace Studio Residency, Sydney
Highly Commended, Marrickville Contemporary Art prize
Finalist Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship (You Are Here)
Finalist Churchie Emerging Art Prize, Brisbane
Finalist International Award for Participation in Art Prize, Legislative Assembly of the Region Emilia-Romagna, Italy
2009: Australia Council Residency Chicago (You Are Here)
2008: Asia-Link Residency, Indonesia
Frasers Studio Residency, Sydney
Performance Space Residency, Redfern
Finalist Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship
2007: Australia-China Council Residency, Hong Kong
Zanny Begg’s The City of Ladies: Resistance, Revisionism and Reclamation, Nina Miall, UK Art Review
The Wire: Indigenous Children’s Experiences in Prison, September 19,2017
Radio National review of The City of Ladies.
1001 Nights in Fairfield, refugee tales from the choir, The Australian, 09/12/2015; and Refugee story up for the Blake, The Fairfield Advocate, 09/12/15
To read a review of the exhibit Groundwork: From the Archives Up clink here.
Conversation, Celebration, Compassion, Real Time, Keith Gallasch, 128, 2015
Winter Wonderland, by Katie Milton, The Broadsheet, June 03, 2015.
Refugees say it through Art, Jennine Kahlik, Fairfield Advance, 2015
In the Shade of the Waq Waq Tree, Uniken, Summer 2014-2015
Review of Salon Fluchthilfe, Artforum.
Artist as Parents Series, Mythological Quarter
The Boys Home: Making Art in a Juvenile Detention Centre, The Conversation
Video Interview on The Boys Home with Das Super Paper
RealTime ‘The Artist as Citizen’ review by Ella Mudie
Architecture Australia ‘The Right to the City’ review by Linda Carroli
Of Bestial Acts and Rabbits in Hats, Reuben Keehan, Broadsheet, Vol 38, No 3
Emeraldtown, Gary Indiana, review by Marian Tubbs, Eyeline, Vol 74
Politics and Art: Direct Engagement, Jacqueline Millner, RealTime issue #92 Aug-Sept 2009 pg. 52
What Would It Mean To Win?, Gerald Raunig, Artlink Magazine, Vol. 28, #4, 2008
There Goes The Neighbourhood, Reuben Keehan, Eyeline, 70, p73
The Focus Group, Reviewed in Artlies, Cynthia Coffeild, May 2010
Oliver, M. You Are Here and somewhere else, Column 8, Artspace, 2011
Tucker, D. Summer Harvest, H-Art Magazine, Fall 2010