Grammar Graduate: Elena Dias-Jayasinha (2016)

Elena Dias-Jayasinha (2016) has always been interested in Visual Arts and Japanese culture. Studying the two subjects at BGGS and again at university, Elena hopes to one day combine her two passions as an art curator. And this year, as the recipient of the Paula and Tony Kinnane Art History Scholarship, and the student curator behind the ‘Music of Spheres’ exhibit at The University of Queensland (UQ), Elena is well on track to achieve her goal.

What are you enjoying most about your course, a Bachelor of Advanced Humanities (Honours) majoring in Art History at UQ? My course is interdisciplinary in nature, which I love. Although I’m majoring in Art History, over the past four years, I’ve completed a number of compulsory courses that have promoted discourse between the arts and sciences, and encouraged me to think more broadly.

What motivated you to undertake a concurrent Diploma in Languages, majoring in Japanese? One of my favourite subjects at BGGS was Japanese. When I entered university, I was not willing to give it up, so I decided to enrol in a concurrent diploma. In 2018, I was lucky enough to complete a six-month exchange program at Keio University in Tokyo. In the future, I hope to combine my love of Japanese with my love of art.

Where does your love for the Arts originate from? Since I was child, I’ve loved all forms of artistic expression. I’ve been dancing since I was five, attended art classes throughout primary school, played music here and there, and chose to take senior drama and visual art at BGGS.

You’ve gained a considerable amount of industry experience while studying—volunteering at Outer Space and Boxcopy, working on an archival project with the Verlie Just Collection, and completing a Summer Research Scholarship Program—what have you learned from your experiences? What I’ve learned from all of these experiences is that the arts industry is incredibly collaborative. It’s been fantastic working with such inspiring and supportive people.

How did you come to curate the exhibition, Music of Spheres at the UQ Art Museum? Last year, I completed the course Visual Arts Writing and Curating. Our final piece of assessment involved creating a proposal for a UQ Art Collection-based exhibition in one of the three gallery spaces on the third level of the Museum. We were told that some exhibition concepts may be selected by the Art Museum to be mounted, and I was thrilled to find out mine was chosen. I then worked closely with Curator, Anna Briers, to develop the concept into an exhibition. The initial idea was significantly expanded beyond its original scope of a one-gallery collection show to span three galleries and include selected external loans and a new commission. Music of Spheres is now open and will be showing until 16 January 2021.

What do you want to do after your study? After I graduate, I wish to pursue a career in curation.

Is there a particular artist/artwork that resonates strongly with you? At the moment, one of my favourite works is Michaela Gleave’s A Galaxy of Suns (2016), which features in Music of Spheres. Gleave is a Sydney-based artist interested in our relationship to time, space and matter. A Galaxy of Suns utilises real-time geolocation technology to translate stellar data into a unique audio-visual composition. The work is available in a number of formats, including a smartphone app. I highly recommend everyone download the app—it enables you to listen to the sounds of the stars whenever you like which, at a time like now, is a beautiful way to feel connected.

Elena Dias-Jayasinha (2016)