The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia is thrilled to announce that Sydney artist Liam Benson will be the eighth artist to reimagine the 2019 Bella Room Commission.

Benson’s work titled hello, good to meet you will be unveiled in the National Centre for Creative
Learning this June.

Benson is an award-winning artist whose practice incorporates performance, photography, video and textiles. The artist works collaboratively with diverse communities through ongoing conversations on how culture, sub-culture and identity interrelate. For the 2019 Bella Room Commission, Benson will create an interactive installation inspired by the movement and physicality of horses. The work will feature a mixture of sculpture, video and wearable sculptures which have been made to inspire Bella Room participants to participate with the work through creative action and movement.
The commission was borne out of a multi-year collaboration with Riding for the Disabled Association NSW’s Tall Timbers Centre in Box Hill, which utilises physical activity and the profound connection between horse and rider to enrich the lives of people living with disability. Horses have featured throughout Benson’s practice due to his connection to the animal from an early age.
On the announcement, Liam Benson said: “This is such an exciting commission. I’m honoured to have the opportunity to make a work for the MCA that invites people with disability and access requirements to connect with contemporary art.”
“Horses are symbols of strength, fortitude, loyalty and protection, for these reasons, I identified horses as uniquely capable of empowering and fostering new and warm connections between Bella Program participants,” Benson added.
Each year, the MCA invites a contemporary Australian artist to create a multi-sensory and interactive artwork for people living with disability or access requirements. The work is a key component of the MCA’s Bella Program. In 2018, the Museum delivered 260 Bella Programs to 6,000 participants of all ages with disability and access requirements.
MCA Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, commented: “The Bella commission makes a very special contribution to the MCA’s commitment to access for all. It’s a unique commissioning model as the artist works in consultation with our Artist Educators, staff and Bella Room participants to develop their work.
“This year’s artist, Liam Benson, is a respected member of our wonderful team of Artist Educators and his particular insights into how young people with disabilities will respond and interactive with his installation will be invaluable,” Macgregor added.

About the Bella program

The Bella program was established in 1992 through the generosity of MCA patrons, Dr Edward Jackson AM and Mrs Cynthia Jackson AM, and the Jackson family, in memory of their late daughter and sister Belinda. Today the Bella Program provides individually tailored and engaging programs to increase confidence, self-esteem and achievement for children and young people with disability and access requirements aged between 5-18 years, whilst the Bella Plus Program has been developed for adults.
Once a month, the Bella Plus Connect Program invites adults, their families and support providers to explore contemporary art in a fun and participant-led creative environment.

For more information, visit Bella Room at the MCA

Free Bella Programs for disability community and groups with access requirements

Groups can engage with the new Bella Commission by booking into a Bella program. MCA Bella Group bookings

Photo credit: Jacqui Manning