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December 3, 2015

Class of 2015: Art graduates to watch

There are 61 Adelaide College of the Arts visual arts graduates this year. Let that mammoth number soak in. CityMag took a look at each and every one of them, and narrowed the graduates down to just two particularly eye-catching standouts. Introducing, Emmaline Zanelli and Felicity Townsend.

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  • Words: Sharmonie Cockayne
  • Pictures: Baxter William

The Adelaide College of the Arts 2015 visual arts graduate exhibition, titled Stampede, showcases 61 graduates from seven disciplines over three floors.


The Adelaide College of the Arts 2015 visual arts graduate exhibition runs from November 27, 2015 to February 3, 2016 at Light Square Gallery, 39 Light Square, Adelaide. The Gallery is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

We looked through them all, and here they are: The good ones, actually, the great ones. The ones who we think have it.

 Emmaline Zanelli


 A self professed maker, Emmaline Zanelli takes joy in getting handsy with things.

Though her art takes the form of photography, her work is not about the photography itself.

“I’m less interested in what the final product looks like,” she says. “I find the finesse of photography – whether it’s the highest quality photo, whether it’s well lit, or how it’s framed or printed – I just don’t really care about that. It’s just not important.”

What is important is the concept.

“Focusing on the more conceptual side of the path, it seems a lot more relevant. It’s not just about making things that people can own, it’s more about helping people understand stuff.”

Emmaline says that her work is an artistic reflection on or answer to what she says around her.

“Mostly my work is responding to stuff around me. Often I catch onto a sentence that someone said that I find funny or offensive and I respond to that through images.”

“I find that using humor makes me feel like I have a lot of power.”

You can see that, too. Emmaline’s work is sensuous, violent, tactile and cynical, with a distinctly dark sense of humour to it.

Using photographs of her own skin printed onto different textiles, Emmaline’s graduate work, titled Please Touch, is a simultaneously playful and violent exploration of the relationship between the photograph and the body

Emmaline’s work is displayed on her website, and will also be showing at her next collaborative exhibition, titled Single Use, which will launch at the Adelaide Fringe in 2016.

Felicity Townsend


From the age of 5 months to 15 years, Felicity grew up in Papua New Guinea in “a very remote community.” The experiences of living there, moving back to Adelaide and struggling to fit into Australian culture are major influences in her work.

Drawing on those experiences, Felicity says nostalgia is a recurring theme that she explores through her practice, and it’s certainly prominent in the work she is showing in the graduate exhibition.

Floating from the ceiling of the Adelaide College of the Arts foyer, Felicity’s graduate exhibition pieces stem from the idea of flight. The colourful constructions are reminiscent of small planes, birds and winged creatures.

Looking at her detailed, structural work, it is not surprising that Felicity is a self-confessed science nerd.

“At the end of Year 12, I had this battle of do I go onto University and do a bachelor of science, or do I become a visual artist,” she says.

In the end, she says her happiness won out, and so her studies at the Adelaide College of the Arts began.

Moving forward, Felicity is planning on taking a residency in Spain next year. Beyond that, Felicity hopes to embark upon honors.

More of Felicity’s work is exhibiting at PTADL Studios, and is displayed on her website.

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