MASS Sydney: a nomadic art gallery

The USU has teamed up with student-led MASS Sydney, a nomadic art gallery, using alternative spaces for its contemporary art exhibitions both on and off campus. Pioneered by students from Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), MASS recently held an exhibition in the Bevery Room in the Holme Building, ‘8 paintings, 1 Night’, showcasing a diverse range of artworks in a non-conventional gallery setting. MASS challenges traditional notions of gallery exhibitions, focusing on the use of unexpected and alternative spaces to showcase artists’ work – think upturned tables, shopfronts and pieces leaning against the walls.

Founded at the SCA, MASS received a USU Bright Ideas grant, which supports student led creative and innovative endeavours. This grant provided crucial funding to MASS which enabled the collective to come to life and in turn made the inaugural exhibition possible.Currently, MASS consists of students, alumni and staff from SCA. The idea to begin MASS arose from experiencing how emerging artists can face various difficulties exhibiting in Sydney galleries, and the want to provide something alternative. 

"It can be difficult for artists to find spaces to exhibit their work. Hire costs can be expensive and it may be hard to find the right context for your work.” Suzy Faiz, a Masters of Fine Arts student and MASS committee member, highlights issues young artists face. “We thought it would be great to do it ourselves, for our own demographic and for artists of our own generation.”  

This allows for MASS members to lead the strategy, management, and organisation of MASS events, giving them real-life gallery and exhibition experience. MASS received a Bright Ideas grant and then secured a cultural partnership with the USU, with the USU providing an office, access to exhibition spaces and funding potential and marketing and operational support further encouraging and facilitating student creativity and building connections between SCA students and the wider university community.

MASS is extending its scope: making use of available spaces throughout Sydney University as well as the wider local community, in alternative spaces such as shopfronts, offices and warehouse in the Inner West and Inner City area to display artwork. “Through using different spaces, we are allowing artists greater flexibility. Space can often be quite limiting for artists, with not every space fitting every kind of art and every kind of work. The concept of the moving, nomadic space keeps it interesting through using different locations, and complements different types of artworks,” MASS committee member Suzy states.

MASS creatively bring greater collaboration and communication between SCA‘s Rozelle campus and the main Sydney Uni location in Camperdown. This tangible working relationship encourages SCA students to not only access and exhibit at the Camperdown campus whilst allowing for broader student involvement with university life but also succeeds in extending the reach of student work beyond traditional campus walls.

Get involved with MASS by coming along to the next event – keep an eye on MASS’ Facebook page and check out their website for more info.

Pulp Editors