What are the themes for HIDDEN 2021?

The themes for HIDDEN 2021 are history, culture, remembrance, love, mourning, cycles of life and the passage of time. We are looking for works that respond to the cemetery in various ways, from personal, spiritual and cultural narratives to community significance and layered histories.

What types of works will be selected for HIDDEN 2021 Sculptures and Students?

We are open to a wide range of artistic approaches, materials and forms. There is the possibility of involving kinetic elements, performance and participatory engagements. We are looking for a span of works ranging from the celebratory, big, bright and colourful – to the contemplative, intimate and thought provoking.

Can I propose a work that I haven’t made yet?

Yes, artists may propose works yet to be made or existing works that relate to the exhibition themes.

What types of works will not be considered suitable?

Works that are interpreted as offensive or insensitive to the culture of Rookwood Cemetery are not suitable for HIDDEN.

Rookwood is an active cemetery; many people attend funerals and memorial services here as well as visit the graves of loved ones. It is important that HIDDEN considers the sensitivities of these visitors, so artworks alluding to violence, murder and/or suicide are generally not suitable for exhibition in HIDDEN. If you have specific questions about this contact curator@rookwoodcemetery.com.au

Where can I see works from previous exhibitions?

View the 2019 HIDDEN exhibition catalogue or previous exhibitions

What types of works are suitable for HIDDEN Sculptures and Students?

Works that:

  • are site-appropriate that engage with the themes of HIDDEN
  • can be installed within a week
  • can be completely removed at the conclusion of the exhibition
  • can withstand the weather, particularly strong winds and heavy rain (or in the case of ephemeral works the artist will need to propose to tend to and repair the work regularly)

Can I request a specific site for my work at Rookwood?

You can include a general site request in your application, e.g., under a tree, on grass lawn, in gardens or undercover (please be aware that the limited undercover sites available may not be completely weatherproof). Please do not request a specific site as the Sculpture Walk path is often changed due to erosion, maintenance, restoration and accessibility of different areas.

Due to the sensitivities of the cemetery, final placement of works will be determined by the Curator and Rookwood General Cemetery, in consultation with the artists.

Can I visit Rookwood to look at the area where the Sculpture Walk will be held before submitting my proposal?

Yes, you can visit Rookwood anytime between sunrise and sunset.  The 2021 path will be slightly different from 2019, but still in the same general area. View the 2019 Sculpture Walk map.

What equipment can Rookwood supply to assist with installation?

Rookwood will supply star-pickets to secure sculptures into the ground. Rookwood can lend artists shovels and other manual equipment for installation. If you need power tools you will need to bring those with you. Rookwood will supply ladders. Please be aware that due to safety concerns artists are not allowed to use their own ladders to install. Please contact the curator if you will need assistance with other equipment or tools.

What are the safety requirements for installing at Rookwood?

As Rookwood is a working cemetery, artists are treated like “contractors” when on site. In 2021 the WHS process will involve:

  • Rookwood staff will review all works post-selection to identify safety concerns. Artists will receive feedback on this process
  • Artists will need to complete an online site induction regarding Rookwood’s WHS policy 
  • Most artists will be required to complete a Risk Assessment or Safe Work Method Statement for their install (depending on the level of risk identified by Rookwood) – you will be assisted by Rookwood staff to complete these
  • Artists will need to wear enclosed shoes and a hi-vis vest (vest to be provided by Rookwood) during install

How much assistance can the staff at Rookwood give with install?

Rookwood dedicate one external staff member to assist during install. Additional staff may be called in for complicated installs (e.g., if a crane is required), when prior arranged with the Curator. Artists are asked to understand that funerals always take priority, but staff will do their best to assist artists. Artists are encouraged to bring friends, family, professionals to assist with their install processes too.

Why is install 2 weeks before the exhibition opening?

Photos for the catalogue are taken in-situ by Rookwood’s in-house photographer. We pride ourselves on showcasing the finished artworks on site within the cemetery. We need at least one week to have the catalogues printed and delivered before the official opening.

What is the weather at Rookwood when HIDDEN is on?

Spring weather at Rookwood is a mix of warm sunny days, heavy rain and strong winds. Consider how your work will withstand the weather: will the materials and structure hold up in hot sunshine, will it disintegrate in heavy rain or might it be blown over in strong winds?

Can I propose an ephemeral work?

Ephemeral works will be considered if the artist proposes to maintain the work throughout the exhibition. This will usually involve tending to the work once a week, repairing and adding to the elements that have disintegrated or disappeared. Although it is expected that most of the works will change over the duration of the exhibition due to weathering, public interaction and surrounding plant growth, it is important that the exhibition is just as engaging for visitors on its final day as it was on the opening day.

My work needs electricity, is there mains power accessible on the Sculpture Walk?

There are only two sites with mains power, so we recommend that artists incorporate solar power into their proposal if electricity is required.

Can I propose to put my work next to a grave?

There will be some artwork sites available next to graves but works cannot be installed on graves. Sometimes we may be able to use empty graves sites surrounded by other graves. In such cases, these plots are still owned by Rookwood – no family graves will ever be encroached upon.

Can I dig into the ground to install my work?

Yes, you can dig into the ground to install work. Most installation processes will involve digging into the ground to secure the work with star picket stakes.

Can I de-install my work on the last day of HIDDEN?

No. Artworks cannot be removed on the last day of the exhibit, due to popular late afternoon public access to the cemetery, and for WHS reasons. There are no staff on site at Rookwood after 4.00pm on Sundays.

Can I propose work that reproduces or uses inscriptions from headstones?

Artists wishing to make work about an inscription on a headstone or a person buried at Rookwood (other than their own family member) should contact the curator, Kath Fries curator@rookwoodcemetery.com.au to discuss their idea before submitting a proposal. In most cases permission for such use will have to be approved by Rookwood Cemetery Management.

Can I propose a personal work about someone in my family who has died?

Yes, we frequently have artworks about personal stories of loss.

What awards am I eligible for?

See Awards & Honorariums. There is a table that breaks down the eligibility of awards for each category.

Is there additional security looking after the artworks?

Rookwood Cemetery’s gates are locked from sunset to sunrise. Security patrols the cemetery at night but will not be specifically stationed at the site of the exhibition.

Where can I find information about the history of Rookwood?

Information about Rookwood can be found:

Can I discuss my proposal idea before submitting my application?

Yes, artists are welcome to contact the curator, Kath Fries, curator@rookwoodcemetery.com.au to discuss their proposal ideas before submitting their application.