Michael Kempson




College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Australia


Michael Kempson has been exhibiting since 1983 with a total of 22 one-person exhibitions. His work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia,
Canberra and several State Galleries. He is currently Head of Printmaking Studies at COFA, UNSW in Sydney, Australia and also Director of Cicada Press, a research focussed custom printing workshop where he has collaborated in projects with over 85 Australian
and International artists. His curatorial experience involves 21 exhibitions including SILK + SAND, Chinese and Australian Prints, in Sydney and Beijing in 2008 and Aboriginal Dreams – Paintings, Etchings, Linocuts – Indigenous Art from Papunya Tjupi, at Indus Valley School of Art, Karachi, Pakistan.

Paper title

From Papunya to Pakistan: Connecting with Asia through the research projects of Cicada Press, Colllege of Fine Art, University of New South Wales


Early in 2004, Cicada Press was established at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales (COFA UNSW) in Sydney as one strategy devised to re-invigorate student experience in conventional printmaking practice. This was achieved by aligning instruction in its technical routines with the research culture of an academic institution by using the creative capital found in collaborative partnerships. This paper reports upon the development and challenges that have shaped the activities of Cicada Press with specific reference to the enriching experience developed from the interaction between the artists invited to produce work and the students who participate in the course that supports this program. Cicada Press' pursuit of diverse cultural engagements in the Asia Pacific region will be discussed; featuring workshops, exchange exhibitions and print collaborations in countries as diverse as China, New Zealand, Thailand and Pakistan. One featured example is the ongoing relationship between COFA UNSW and the Indigenous community of Papunya, in the Northern Territory. It was here, in 1971, where the teacher Geoffrey Bardon encouraged a group of senior lawmen to inscribe their ancient culture in permanent images based on their own visual traditions. Despite its international fame as the home of Western Desert Art this community was without an art centre for many years. It was with the support of friends of the community like Dr. Vivien Johnson who, in 2006, organised several workshops and fundraising activities for a new art centre. With Cicada Press's ongoing printmaking collaborations and the COFA trained graduates that assist in the management of the centre, a continuing exhibition program reminds the world of this talented community's distinguished place in Australian art history.


Thursday 29 September


1:30pm - 3.00pm






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