Visual arts graduate Shani chosen for national exhibition


February 2024

Two artworks exploring culture and identity by TAFE SA graduate Shani Engelbrecht have been selected for the national graduate exhibition – Hatched – which opened in Perth earlier this year.

Presented by the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA), Hatched: National Graduate Show is an annual exhibition showcasing work from the most exciting emerging artists from across the nation.

Shani, who studied the Bachelor of Creative Arts – Visual Arts (Honours) through TAFE SA and Flinders University, says being chosen for the Hatched exhibition has helped to reaffirm her career pathway.

“I was happy with my work and everything I did while studying, but hearing I was part of the exhibition was the cherry on top. I felt validated in my decision to be an artist,” she says.

In her Honours year, in 2022, Shani took inspiration from her mum’s migrant experience to research themes of culture and identity and produced a graduate collection incorporating a video entitled To Pass as White, and a mixed media textile collage Bula Vinaka Mum.

“My mum has a Fijian Indian background and my Honours year was the first time we talked about my culture at that level,” she says.

“We talked about her history, culture and language and how she feels isolated in Australia and how the life of an immigrant can be hard, and it made me realise how much she sacrificed.

“During the graduate exhibition (at TAFE SA’s Light Square Gallery) I saw a lot of people reading the work and I had strangers telling me it was deeply touching and moving, I felt like her story was being seen and heard.”

Shani is delighted that both the video and textile work will gained a much wider audience during Hatched, which ran from May 13 to July 23.


Shani Engelbrecht, TAFE SA graduate

She will attend the opening night of the exhibition on May 12 after raising money for the flights through an art market, as well as networking and professional development sessions organised by PICA.

“The exhibition was a great way to kickstart my career and I’m looking forward to the opportunities that may arise,” Shani says.

The emerging artist already has several projects under way including a collaboration with fellow TAFE SA graduates, dancer Kate Burgess and ceramicist Nick Johnson, and a three-month mentorship with FELTspace.

Through her art practice, Shani plans to further her exploration of identity and culture using a range of mediums.

“My practice is evolving, I enjoy textiles and creating work with fabric, but I can see myself going towards performance and projections and film, and things that are quite experimental,” she says.

“I want my art to make people think, feel something or leave just validated, heard and seen. They are the greatest effects art can have on a person. If it starts a conversation, then I’ve done my job.”

Re-published with kind permission of TAFE SA