Leyla Stevens

b. 1982, Queensland, Australia
Lives and works in Bali, Indonesia and Sydney, Australia

Leyla Stevens’s research-oriented practice engages with notions of gesture, ritual, spatiality, and transculturation through moving image and photography. Drawing upon her experience as an Australian-Balinese artist, Stevens uses a hybrid form of representation that oscillates between documentary and speculative fiction to recover and restore alternative histories previously buried or made invisible by dominant narratives. Combining documentary strategies with experimental imagery that emphasizes the body and movement, Stevens installations raise questions about her own Indonesian heritage by exploring how seemingly disparate methods of image making traverse cultural identity.

Stevens has come to prominence through such immersive multi-channel video installations, including her prize-winning work ‘Kidung/Lament’ (2021); an exploration of political violence in Bali, and its manifestations in contemporary social life. Her research engages with silenced histories and how they register spatially, as gaps, erasures and present absences in the land.

Past exhibitions include, ‘Of Love and Decomposition’ at Firstdraft, 2016; 2014 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (Emerging) at Artspace, and the 2014 SafARI biennale. In 2015, she was awarded a Skills and Development grant through the Australia Council for the Arts which was used to undertake an artist mentorship program in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Biography information from Kadist and John Fries Award, April 2023

Country: Indonesia / Australia
Social Media: @leyla_stevens