Cushla Donaldson

Cushla Donaldson's practice gives form to the restive and political relationship between forceful public ideologies and the growing cogency and power of unacknowledged realities. The ensemble of personal, social, historical and political events that the artist reflects query the dominant narratives of society and the institution.

Known for her percipient, mysterious and sometimes piercingly comic engagement with aesthetics and their contemporary applications, Donaldson's work both enchants and often remonstrates the public gaze with its political grounding. Using various technologies, yet consistently referring to her long-standing infatuation with mainstream media and cinematic languages, Donaldson meticulously exacts commercial priorities and operates on them for desired artistic outcomes.

Donaldson presented the acclaimed participatory work 501s with the Physics Room at the Melbourne Art Fair in 2018 and developed a parallel collection of commissioned essays and artworks Through That Which Separates Us, published in 2021. She is currently a postgraduate researcher in the Sociology Department at the University of Auckland, where she teaches Critical Theory. She previously received her MFA from Goldsmiths College, University of London, as a recipient of the Anne Reid Scholarship. Her research circumscribes the crimes of Capital, including the circulation of hate speech, border theater and the intersecting digital worlds of both dominant and marginalised communities.

Cushla Donaldson image by Ophelia King.

CIRCUIT Resources

Conversation with David Hall (2019)
E-Book Reader, CIRCUIT 2019 Symposium, The Time of the Now
Podcast with Mark Amery (2017)
Essay by Francis McWhannell (2016)

Selected Exhibitions


501s V.02, The Physics Room, Christchurch

501s V.02, Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland

501s, Melbourne Art Fair, Australia
(Un)conditional II, The Suter Gallery, Nelson
(Un)conditional I,The Physics Room, Christchurch

The Fairy Falls, Te Uru Contemporary Gallery, Auckland (solo) 

Public Dream: Liquidation, Rockies, Auckland, NZ (solo) 

Transforming Feminisims, Otago University (group) 
The Procariats, Headlands Sculpture On The Gulf, Waiheke Island, NZ