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The Art Gallery of New South Wales is delighted to announce that Melbourne based artist Nusra Latif Qureshi is the 2019 recipient of the $80,000 Bulgari Art Award. The first time the award has been given for a body of work by an artist instead of a single painting, Qureshi brings together the traditional techniques of South Asian miniature painting with layers of historical and contemporary references.

The Bulgari Art Award supports mid-career Australian painters and consists of $50,000 for the acquisition of paintings for the Gallery’s collection and a residency for the artist in Italy, valued at $30,000. The award recipient is selected by senior curatorial staff and AGNSW Trustees.

Managing director of Bulgari Australia, Brad Harvey said, “We are thrilled to celebrate another year of the Bulgari Art Award in partnership with the Art Gallery of NSW, an award which strengthens the on-going support Bulgari has for the art and culture industries, both globally and locally in Australia."

“We have seen great Australian contemporary artists flourish as a result of this award and we are delighted to be working closely with the Art Gallery of NSW to display all the Bulgari Art Award winning works for a limited time.

“Bulgari is a brand that is synonymous with being bold and designing beautiful creations full of rich and daring colours. Nusra Latif Qureshi’s collection of paintings that have been recognised through the Bulgari Art Award could not be more aligned with our DNA” Harvey said.

Art Gallery of NSW director Dr Michael Brand said, “Six exquisite paintings by Nusra will enter the Gallery’s collection, spanning the period that she has lived and worked in Australia. These are the first works by Nusra to enter the Gallery’s collection and we are thrilled to represent the breadth of her practice through the Bulgari Art Award,” Brand said.

Qureshi trained at the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan, where she learnt the painting style of the Mughal courts brought from Persia in the 16th century and developed in the region.

Art Gallery of NSW head curator of Australian Art, Wayne Tunnicliffe said, “Nusra pushes the boundaries of her artist training in Pakistan and other visual traditions such as Pahari painting, which originated in northern India, by combining them with images from colonial photography, textile patterns, silhouettes and botanical paintings to create a richly layered visual language.”

In presenting history as a collection of overlapping fragments that resonates into our present moment, Nusra traces how the past can affect the agency we have in our lives today

“Nusra’s paintings often feature female protagonists which transcend time and place, embodying experience across cultures and historical periods. In presenting history as a collection of overlapping fragments that resonates into our present moment, Nusra traces how the past can affect the agency we have in our lives today,” Tunnicliffe added.

Qureshi’s paintings often contain an autobiographical element, including the Gallery’s acquisition Descriptions from the past II 2001, painted soon after she arrived in Melbourne in 2001 to undertake post-graduate study at the Victorian College of Arts. A figure that resembles Qureshi stands with two golden orbs above her, hovering worlds which she finds herself caught between. Her experience as a migrant to Australia negotiating a new society and finding her identity here as an artist have also informed her work.

Qureshi was born in 1973 in Lahore, Pakistan and moved to Melbourne in 2001 for post-graduate study at the Victorian College of Arts. Her work has been exhibited in Australia, Austria, Germany, Italy, Pakistan and the United States.

Qureshi said she was elated with the announcement of the award and that the Art Gallery of NSW will have such a substantial collection of her work.

“I would like to thank Bulgari for the award that not only allows my work to be part of the AGNSW collection but also provides an incredible opportunity to visit Italy. As my practice draws heavily on art historical references, I am looking forward to studying significant artworks in Italian museums.” Qureshi said.

Nusra Latif Qureshi is the seventh recipient of the Bulgari Art Award. Past recipients of the Bulgari Art Award include Tomislav Nikolic, Jude Rae, Ildiko Kovacs, Daniel Boyd, Jon Cattapan and Michael Zavros.

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