Trophy Dreams

UNSW Library Exhibition: May 30 – August 30 2022

Written by Vivienne Tico Salcedo 

Annette Galstaun and Chistopher Haysom
Still from Dance of the angel fairy 2021
Single channel video loop with audio
Courtesy of the artist and Studio A

Trophy Dreams serves a banquet of colour and pattern for the eyes. Greens, purples and pinks shimmer together in a myriad of dots, dashes, and stitches. Amongst this dance of delicious aesthetics serious subjects are addressed. Trophy Dreams addresses issues ranging from our relationship with the spirit world to the accessibility of tertiary education. 

— Gabrielle Mordy, Artistic Director and CEO, Studio A

✨Excellence, Experience, and the Exhibit✨

This year, UNSW Library and UNSW Art Collection are excited to have partnered with Studio A, Australia's leading art studio for artists living with intellectual disabilities to present Trophy Dreams, a multi-artform interactive experience featuring a new artwork specially commissioned for UNSW.

University and exclusivity tend to go hand-in-hand whenever academic excellence is discussed. Keeping people out is one of the many ways academic institutions preserve their “excellence,” and in doing so, they are also limiting the ability to share and create a new and varied experience. 

The exhibition brought in what universities incidentally keep out, a celebration of both excellence and experience by featuring works by artists that, as per one of the opening night’s speakers, would never make it into UNSW and would otherwise never be able to share their experience within it. We are given the rare opportunity to interact with and experience almost experiencing the artists’ views of the world through pieces we can wear and games we are encouraged to play. We glimpse into the artists’ world and collectively celebrate excellence and experience with them in a space that normally does not allow it through this term’s UNSW Library, Studio A, and UNSW Art Collection exhibition, Trophy Dreams.

About Some Of The Works

Magical Putt Putt by Annette Galstaun

“I want people to enjoy themselves and be proud of me. I made these joyful things to honour people and angels who have cared for me throughout my life.” - Annette Galstaun

To those unfamiliar, Annette’s interactive sculptures may appear to be no more than fun and colourful playsets, and although they are indeed fun and colourful, they represent and introduce something deeper and more complex. Annette shares her love of angels and putt putt in a way that allows us to experience the joy and love she herself experiences through them by letting us play the game while she, dressed as one of her guardian angels, sings to us in the background. A truly enjoyable series, and we are sure anyone who stops by and sees her work would agree and say that they are proud of what Annette has done here. Read more about Annette HERE, and if you’d like to show your support, you can purchase her WORK!

Grad Caps and Gowns by Jaycee Kim, Emily Crockford, and Viktoria Atkinson

Jaycee Kim’s grad cap and gown is exclusively for non-earthlings who reside in the universe of his making, as we are, unfortunately, not allowed to enroll in his university. This is as close as we can get, and it truly is an honour to be able to wear his uber exclusive university’s graduation regalia. Read more about Jaycee Kim here, and see his purchasable products here

While Jaycee’s university doesn’t teach earthlings, Victoria Atkinson’s does. Her grad cap and gown is a bright, eye-catching rendition of her school building. This what she said regarding her work:

“This is where I learnt to be an artist. I graduated and now I can do my job as an artist. I got a certificate and a trophy. My school is all the colours of the rainbow. It is a bright light filled castle. This is my crown.”

Viktoria’s crown is brilliantly laced with fondness. Read more about Viktoria here, and shop her work here! Similarly to Viktoria’s crown, Emily Crockford’s grad cap and gown was made with fondness and love, but hers is not for a school, but for her brother. It is decorated with sewn and painted organs, it is a physical manifestation of how proud she is of her sibling. Emily said:

“I am inspired by my brother who is a doctor. He wore a graduation gown. I made my gown all colourful because I am excited for my brother. My brother can hear your own heartbeat.”

About Studio A and the Artists

Studio A is a supported studio for artists living with intellectual disabilities. The studio paves professional pathways for artists through exhibitions and collaborations, such as Trophy Dreams, that brings their work to various spaces like that of the UNSW Library, which commissioned the exhibit. They are a social enterprise and their income directly benefits the artists. Read more about Studio A here and support their artists by donating or visiting their shop!

Thoughts From Visitors

Saira Arias

UNSW Alumni, Design/Media (PR & Advertising) 

“I think it’s neat that Studio A is able to put this exhibition together that does explore the issues that come with tertiary education when it comes to people with intellectual disabilities and actually have it in a place of tertiary education. Slay.” 

Vivienne Tico Salcedo 

UNSW 3rd year student, Commerce 

“I felt like I was surrounded by joy. To some extent, I actually was. The artwork from the Studio A artists are physical proofs of the happiness and love that the artists have experienced. I felt it most when I wore the grad toga Viktoria made with the colorful organs and body parts to represent her brother who just graduated from med school - it was so lovingly made and I found myself feeling proud of her brother too, even if we never met.” 

Japeth Dia 

USC Alumni, Occupational Therapist, MA Occupational Therapy 

“As Occupational Therapists, we put value and meaning to the works of people with disabilities; we celebrate their strengths and provide opportunities for growth. Having a safe space in a university for people with disabilities to express themselves showcases inclusion and encourages equity for all.” 

Dr Veronica Jiang 

UNSW Senior Lecturer 

“I love every bit of the Trophy Dreams exhibit. This exhibit collects a variety of art pieces created by people with intellectual disability. Their creativity and passion shined through the art warm my heart, and wit and humour put on a big smile on me. I really appreciate that UNSW organize this exhibit and UNSW should make this an annual exhibit.”

More Details

UNSW Library presents exhibitions each term with their Exhibition Program. Through it, “the UNSW Library collaborates with a diverse range of partners across the University and broader community. This program creates a space for discourse in the Library and provides a venue for the Library to showcase and support the kinds of research outputs that previously didn’t have an outlet within our collections.”

Their upcoming exhibition in Term 3 is titled !DO SOMETHING by the W!CKED COLLECTIVE and it will run from 12 September to 18 November 2022. Read more about the upcoming exhibit HERE, and learn about the Exhibition Program and previous exhibits HERE!

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