One Month To Go: Talk Contemporary & Create Contemporary Programs Announced

Sydney Contemporary, in partnership with MA Financial Group, has announced the highly anticipated programs for Talk Contemporary and Create Contemporary, presented at Carriageworks, Australia’s largest multi-arts centre, from 7 – 10 September 2023.

With one month to go until the launch of Sydney Contemporary, the fair has unveiled Talk Contemporary’s engaging program of live conversations on art, design and architecture with a number of leading Australian creatives.

The Talk Contemporary program will have two strands this year, one focused on art curated by Samantha Watson-Wood from Friends with Strangers, and another on architecture and design curated by design editor and commentator Karen McCartney. The program will feature a line-up of dynamic panellists exploring topical themes including love and identity, designing spaces for art and different approaches to collecting.

“This year’s art conversations revolve around unpacking sexual identity and representation in the image, landscape painting as a political tool, uncovering female artists from leading creative minds, the effect of the selfie and important history of self-portraiture and how the arts reflect, predict and shape the future,” said Samantha Watson-Wood.

“This year I am excited about the rich and diverse conversations conducted by some of the most important and interesting thought leaders in our country,” she added.


Highlights of Talk Contemporary 2023


Love, Sex and The Image

Art has always depicted objects of one’s desires. This talk will explore ideas around the muse, the male gaze and objectification, queer celebration, desire, love, shock and pleasure, othering and adoration. The panellists will endeavour to unpack the representation of our sexual identities, through the image. Speakers include Solomon Kramer, Dylan Mooney and Polly Borland, and moderated by Samantha Watson-Wood.


The Selfie and Questions of Identity

The Selfie and Questions of Identity: One of the first self-portraits was made by the Pharaoh Akhenaten’s chief sculptor Bak in 1365 BC, it is estimated that in 2023 over 93 million selfies are taken each day. This talk will explore how the form of self-portraiture / the selfie constantly moves through portrayal, subversion, exploration and straight narcissism. What purpose does the selfie serve and how has it affected our understanding of identity?

Speakers include Jack Ball, Jenny Watson, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran and moderated by Sarah Rees, Senior Curator at the Powerhouse Museum.


Designing Spaces for Art


In this talk, three eminent architects are questioned on the challenges of designing spaces where art and objects are to be viewed, how the experience and expectation has changed and how they meet (and exceed) those demands.

Speakers include William Smart, Smart Design Studio; Timothy Hill, Partners Hill; Camilla Block, Durbach Block Jaggers and moderated by Karen McCartney.


Art + Interiors: Matching the couch is not a requirement


An interior designer, gallerist and art advisor discuss how they approach specifying art for interior projects, how they engage clients, what are the frequently asked questions, and what have been some of the most successful outcomes.

Speakers include Martin Browne, Martin Browne Contemporary; Sarah-Jane Pyke, Arent & Pyke; Kym Elphinstone and moderated by Stephen Todd


Creatives at Home: How I Collect


A panel of creatives from the disciplines of architecture, interior design and art curation – who have gathered personal collections over time to reflect a strong, personal viewpoint – will tell the stories of their passion for collecting.

Speakers include Hannah Tribe, Tribe Studio; David Flack, Flack Studio; Ronan Sulich and moderated by Karen McCartney


Designing with Country: Art and Architecture


What does it mean to embed a strong and meaningful sense of country in the places we design in Australia? This is discussed from a range of architectural and art perspectives to bring a greater understanding of what good outcomes look and feel like.

Speakers include architects Huw Turner, Collins & Turner; Bernadette Hardy, Hardy & Hardy, Samantha Rich and moderated by David Clark.


How to be the future


This talk looks at current social and political trends that question how art is represented in our galleries, institutions and events. After the turbulent times of the last few years there is an uprise of issues including collection gender gap, de-colonial discourse, access, diversity and inclusion and the notion of care and empathy as a working practice. How does the art industry address this?

Speakers include Michael Brand, Shari Sebben and moderated by Tony Albert.


Bow Down: A series of short interviews highlighting artists to whom, we should all bow down


In homage to Jennifer Higgie’s Bow Down Podcast, a podcast uncovering significant women artists from the past, Kalita Corrigan, the Executive producer of ABCs will sit with some of Australia’s leading creative minds to delve into their favourite female artists.

Speakers include Jess Scully and Anna Plunket, moderated by Kalita Corrigan


From the Indigenous Voice to Futuristic AI


Editors of four of Australia’s major cultural publications will discuss how they are navigating current sensitive and topical issues in the Australian and global landscape. From the current national referendum on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, to a rising voice of a different kind – that of generative AI – how are these editorial voices navigating the complexities of the contemporary world and doing it with creative flair?

Speakers include Una Rey, Erin Vink, Becky Hemus and Alison Kubler, chaired by Katarina Kroslakova, Editor T Magazine


Living Edge

Complementing the Architecture and Design Talks, Living Edge will return to Sydney Contemporary with Memphis Milano in their Edition space. Presented for the first time in Australia as a collective, the exhibition will showcase a captivating array of iconic furniture and objects from the renowned Memphis Milano design movement.

A tribute to the bold, daring and imaginative designs that defined an era of innovative creativity, Memphis Milano was a revolutionary design movement founded in 1981 by the legendary Ettore Sottsass.

Characterised by bold colours, geometric shapes and whimsical patterns, Memphis Milano brought a refreshing sense of playfulness to the world of furniture and object design.

Living Edge will also present the Guframinis collection by Italian radial design brand Gufram at Sydney Contemporary.

Visitors will be able to shop iconic designs including CACTUS, BOCCA, PRATONE and GOD as well as new designs in 1:8 scape, precisely replicating the intricate details of their original size.


Create Contemporary

This year, Sydney Contemporary will also present Create Contemporary, an immersive workshop and creative space for visitors of all ages to explore ways to unleash creative thinking through the power of mark-making. Presented by Eckersley’s Art & Craft, the largest retailer of art, craft, and design supplies in Australia, the 2023 program introduces the Squiggla Making Space, encouraging adult visitors to rediscover the value of creativity in a fulfilled life, while families will experience joyful making time together using a wide range of tools and art supplies provided by Ecklersley’s Art & Craft.

Create Contemporary will additionally host artist-led workshops throughout the weekend, including a workshop with artist Marisa Purcell, where she will introduce audiences to her work and guide visitors in a creative project. Purcell is represented by OLSEN Gallery.


Artist Profile

Artist Profile magazine will return to the Fair as a Major Partner to present the exhibition Jasper Knight: The Coral Coast curated by leading independent Australian corporate curators, 3:33 Art Projects. A Sydney-based artist, Knight’s work is held in almost all NSW regional gallery collections, Artbank and the National Gallery of Australia and this year, two of his works entered the National Portrait Gallery permanent collection.

He is represented by Chalk Horse in Sydney and James Makin Gallery in Melbourne.

Artist Profile is a leading quarterly journal taking readers into the studios where artistic work is created, and the critical discussions where its reception is shaped. They commission original work from writers, artists, scholars and other creators to stimulate debate about what it means to live and work as a visual artist today.


Art Money

Art Money will also return to the Fair with a dedicated booth featuring works by Lionel Bawden (Artereal Gallery), Ry David-Bradley (Sullivan+Strumpf) and Jack Langan Dunbar (COMA). Art Money will launch their Buyer’s Premium product, allowing Sydney Contemporary attendees to purchase ant artwork at the Fair and pay overtime, instead of upfront. Art Money will have two options for buyers; Interest Free from Partner Galleries (pay overtime in 10 monthly payments, interest-free) and Buyer’s Premium (pay overtime for a flat monthly fee, when buying from any art seller).



Swedish car company Polestar will appear at Sydney Contemporary for the first time in a dedicated area, to showcase both the recently launched 2024 version of Polestar 2, as well as the Australian debut of the Polestar Design Contest Exhibition. This annual event brings together student and professional designers from all different backgrounds and locations to see what a more sustainable electric future could look like. With a dual focus on progressive design and cutting-edge technology, Polestar are leading the way in creating 100% electric cars that deliver refined performance, whilst reducing environmental impact. By 2030, the brand has aimed to create a truly climate-neutral car by eliminating all emissions from their supply chain, manufacturing processes, and end of life, without relying on offsetting methods like tree-planting.


Food & Drink

Visitors will also be able to purchase food and drink around the Fair. VinoBistro by Yalumba will host a dedicated wine and food bar, seating over 80 people and offering an extensive wine range, as well as a full menu of Italian share plates, pastas, and salads. The space will display paintings by Karen Black (Yavuz Gallery) and will host artist talks throughout the Fair. Other beverage highlights include Champagne Duperrey Bar, Gage Roads Brew Co and illy caffè. At the Campari Lounge, Fair visitors will be treated to a special daily program curated by Arts Matter celebrating creativity with creative pairings of cultural figures including artists Laura Jones, Nabilah Nordin and Josh Yeldham, musician Daniel Stricker and poet Freya Sadgrove.



Sydney Contemporary returns to Carriageworks this year with its largest edition to date featuring over 500 artists showcased by 96 emerging and established galleries from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore, from 7 – 10 September 2023.

Sydney Contemporary Opening Hours

Thursday 7 September: 11am – 5pm
Thursday 7 September Art Night: 5.30pm – 9pm
Friday 8 September: 11am – 8pm
Saturday 9 September: 11am – 6pm
Sunday 10 September: 11am – 5pm


More green updates