Cultural Precinct

2020 Fellow - Tina Stefanou

Further Information

Schenberg Art Fellowship:

Tina Stefanou from Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University, was awarded the Dr Harold Schenberg Art Prize in 2020.

The 2020 Schenberg Art Fellowship was judged by Amy Barrett-Lennard, Director, PICA, Ted Snell, Director, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, and Chad Creighton, CEO, Aboriginal Art Centre Hub WA.

"The paired video works were incredibly absorbing, drawing the viewer into their spell, encouraging us all to reflect on the artist’s family history, which foregrounds universal themes of ageing, empathy and recognition.  It is an accomplished work that welds together music and the visual arts in a seamless amalgam," the judges said.

Photograph of artist Tina Stefanou holding a rope and standing beside a horse with a crocheted head and neck garment.

Tina Stefanou. Photograph: Andrew Kaineder.

2020 Schenberg Art Fellowship winner

Tina Stefanou
Australian University
Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne

About the artist

Tina Stefanou is an Australian-Greek artist from Melbourne. She works across performance, installation, painting, sculpture, video, and music. As a vocalist, Stefanou explores how voice can exist within objects, spaces, ideas, and situations. Influenced by her immediate environment, she involves family members, non-singers, children, musicians, peers, animals, and objects as subject and medium, creating deeply layered social and poetic spaces through collaboration. Stefanou is interested in multispecies interactions and expanded notions of both composition and care. By interrupting a space to offer an idea beyond what is expected or anticipated, she invites the audience to examine their own relationships to the materials around them. Creating a field of tension between the visuals of the work and the voice as a multifaceted instrument, she allows the materials and composition to co-author the work.

About the artworks

Horse Power displays three elderly retired horses adorned in bells and keys. Each movement gives rise to sound as they ’shimmer’ across the Victorian bush, transforming into resonating gentle instruments. The horses’ adornments are constructed from hand-sewn fishing nets, referencing Stefanou’s grandmother’s forty years of employment in a textile factory. The work navigates labours of love, ageing, and purposelessness in a time of social and environmental precarity. Antiphonea features three naked double bassists twirling in a pool of window light as they attempt to play a line from a medieval vocal chant by German nun and composer Hildegard of Bingen. Referencing historical medieval choral music as well as the ongoing battle for recognition by female composers, the men’s bodies struggle to play the piece without colliding with one another. The two works together speak to poetic resonances and gentle collisions across time, species, and place to create an interconnected network of historical and contemporary experiences.

Still from an artwork by Elham Eshraghian

Tina Stefanou, Antifonea (still), 2019, and Horse Power (still), 2019, installation view. Hatched: National Graduate Show 2020, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA). Photograph: Bo Wong.