ASIA NOW artist talk | MIFA | Photo : Mayu Kanamori

ASIA NOW artist talk | MIFA | Photo : Mayu Kanamori

Pia Johnson is a photographer and visual artist, whose practice seeks to investigate issues about cultural difference, diaspora and identity. These concerns have stemmed from her mixed cultural background of Chinese and Italian-Australian descent. Pia's work engages with the social and personal aspects of understanding cultural identity, seeking to bring to the front ideas around belonging and otherness. Her work is collected in private and public collections including the National Gallery of Victoria.

Known as one of Australia’s distinctive performance photography and portrait artists, Pia has commissions from all the major and small to medium performing arts organisations in Australia, including Arts Centre Melbourne, Australian National Academy of Music, Arena Theatre Company, Belvoir Theatre, Fraught Outfit, Little Ones Theatre, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Victorian Opera amongst others.

Pia has been a finalist in many photography awards, and is regularly invited as a guest speaker and artistic advisor for a range of organisations. Her photographs have been published in Rolling Stone, The Australian, The Australian Financial Review, The Age, The Age Life and Style, The Herald Sun, The Monthly, as well as independent and cultural papers and publishing companies such as Currency Press, Black Inc and others.

Pia holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual arts) and Diploma of Modern Languages (Mandarin) from the University of Melbourne, and is currently a PhD (Fine Arts) candidate at RMIT University.

Highlights in 2018, Pia will be presenting a solo show She that came before me at the Manningham Art Gallery, be an artist in residence at the National University of Singapore, she will be part of the group exhibition All We Can't See, that illustrates the Nauru files with 30 Australian artists, curate The Family Mantle at Bundoora Homestead and be featured at Pingyao International Photography Festival in China. She has been recently announced as a finalist in the IRIS award at the Photography Centre of Perth, and has been accepted for a Punctum Inc ‘What if…’ Seedpod residency in November 2018.

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Pia Johnson's work not only references feminism and transculturality, and from my point of view, a remarkable precision, in questioning the well worn assumptions of identity discourse and its sentimentality. Rather these works are, to me, elegant and acute reworkings of our observations towards heritage, and an opening out to multiple and heterogeneous possibilities of linkages where the dynamics of difference, becoming and resonance form our relation to our fore bearers, through the eyes, as if from the innocence of a child seeing the world anew.

... taken from John Young Zerunge's opening night speech from She that came before me (2018)

 

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ARTISTIC RESUME (overview)

 

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2018                 She that came before me, Manningham Art Gallery, Melbourne

2016                The Widening Gyre, Stockroom, Kyneton

2014                In a dim light…, Edmund Pearce Gallery, Melbourne

2013                Fragile Light, Studio Kura, Itoshima, Japan

2013                Finding Yourself at Home Alone, Stockroom, Kyneton

2012                Who’s the Chinese lady that picks you up from school?, Queensland Centre of Photography

2009                threads, Photography, Guildford Lane Gallery, Melbourne

2009                Who’s the Chinese lady that picks you up from school?, fortyfive downstairs, Melbourne

 

Selected Group Exhibitions

2018    IRIS award, Photography Centre of Perth, WA (Finalist)

2018 Territories, Pingyao International Photography Festival, China

2018                 The Family Mantle (curator and artist), Bundoora Homestead, VIC

2018                 Poked by a bone in the Cupboard, Stockroom Kyneton, VIC

2018                 All that we can't see, Yellow House Gallery, Sydney, & fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne

2017                 The Confessional, Mailbox Art Space, Melbourne

2017                 Martin Kantor Portrait Prize, BIFB, Ballarat VIC (Finalist)   

2017                 Maggie Diaz Photography Prize for Women, Brightspace, VIC (Finalist)

2017                  Chinese Whispers and Other Stories (artist and curator), Huw Davies Gallery PhotoAccess Manuka

                          Arts Centre Canberra & Blindside Gallery Melbourne

2017                 Big Walk to Golden Mountain, Punctum Inc & AsiaTOPA, Ballarat Gallery and Castlemaine Festival VIC

2017                 Closing the Distance, Bundoora House, VIC

2017                 Mixed Tape, Stockroom Kyneton, VIC

2016                 The Museum of International Connectivity, The Dirty Dozen Campbell Arcade, Melbourne CBD

2015                37° South to 19° North: Australian Photography, The Museum of the City of Cuernavaca, Mexico

2015                Maggie Diaz Photography Prize for Women, Brightspace, VIC (Finalist)

2014                Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, Gold Coast City Gallery, QLD (Finalist)

2014                Settlings, First Site Gallery, RMIT, Melbourne

2013                Camera Work: Contemporary Portraiture, Black Box Gallery, Portland Oregon USA

2013                Periscope, Castlemaine State Festival 2013, Castlemaine VIC

2013                蛇 rắn 뱀 Snake Snake Snake, Sydney Chinese New Year Festival, Sydney

2012                Make Yourself At Home, Chinalink Gallery, Sydney

2012                Mixed Media, Ausin Tang Gallery, Prahran VIC

2010                China Obscura, Melbourne International Fine Art (MiFA), Collins St, Melbourne

2010                Making it Sacred, Photography project with Sarah Anderson, CARBON BLACK gallery, Prahran VIC

2010                Asia Now, Melbourne International Fine Art (MiFA), Collins St, Melbourne

2010                Love, Loss and Intimacy, National Gallery of Victoria International, VIC

 

Awards, Grants & Residencies

2018 Punctum Inc ‘What if…’ Seedpod residency, Castlemaine VIC

2018    IRIS award, Photography Centre of Perth, WA (Finalist)

2018                 Artist in Residence, National University of Singapore, College of Alice and Peter Tan

2017                 Martin Kantor Portrait Prize, BIFB, Ballarat VIC (Finalist)

2017                 Maggie Diaz Photography Prize for Women, Brightspace, VIC (Finalist)

2015                Maggie Diaz Photography Prize for Women, Brightspace, VIC (Finalist)

2014                Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, Gold Coast City Gallery, QLD (Finalist)

2014                RMIT University Arts Council Funding Grant

2013                Punctum In-Habit International Grant for Studio Kura Japan Residency

2013                Studio Kura Artist Residency, Itoshima, Japan

2012                Australian National Academy of Music Artist Residency

2012                Take A Bow performance prize exhibition, BIFB, Ballarat and Melbourne (3x Finalist)

2012                Onward Compe ’12 Exhibition, Project Basho Gallery, Philadelphia, USA (Finalist)

2010                Victorian Multicultural Commission for Making it Sacred project

2008                City of Melbourne Young Artist Grant Program

2006                ­Hannah Barry Memorial Prize for Merit, University of Melbourne

 

Collections

National Gallery of Victoria

Curtin University

National Art School

RMIT University

University of Southern Queensland

Various private collections

 

Positions, Teaching and Talks

2018                Guest lecturer, National University of Singapore

2017                Chinese Whispers and Other Stories, Public program and panel discussions, PhotoAccess and Blindside

2017                Masterclass Portrait Photography, Stockroom Kyneton

2017                Bundoora Homestead artist talk and children's workshop

2016 - current Board Member, Punctum Inc

2016 - current Sessional Lecturer, RMIT University, School of Fine Art Print Image Practice

2016                 Moving Image Cultures of Asian Art conference, ANU, Canberra

2016                 Immigration Museum, Guest artist talk

2016                 University of Melbourne, guest lecture

2016                 University of Melbourne, Theatre forum panelist

2014                NGV Top Arts 20th Anniversary public program talks and panel discussions

2013                Kyushu University Guest lecture and workshop, Fukuoka, Japan

2013                Onward Compe Guest talk, Tokyo, Japan

2013                Australia Commercial and Media Photographers (ACMP) Trampoline session

2011                National Gallery of Victoria, Public Programs Art Start

2010                PechaKucha at Melbourne International Fine Art (MiFA)

2009 - 2016   Founding Board Member and President, Kesho Foundation Inc,

2007 - 2011   Inaugural Board member, Australian Poetry Centre (now known as Australian Poetry)

 

Education

2014 - current PhD (Fine Art) candidate, RMIT University, School of Art

2005                Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Arts)/Dipl. of Modern Languages (Mandarin), Uni. of Melbourne

 

Download full CV here