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Sydney Estonian artist finalist in Macquarie Emerging Art Prize

Lachlan Bell is an active member of the Sydney Estonian community and is involved across Sydney Eesti Selts, Virmalised and Sõrve Summer Camp. Lachlan is one of 10 finalists currently exhibiting work in the 2021 Macquarie Group Emerging Artist Prize. In its 10th year, the Macquarie Group Emerging Artist Prize supports and recognises a new generation of Australian visual artists. Artists in the early stage of their careers are invited to enter an original work (or series) reflecting the theme of the Macquarie Group Collection, ’The Land and Its Pscyhe’. This collection has been supporting emerging Australian artists for more than 30 years.

Submitting two photographic prints from his 2020 Snowmelt series, ‘Memento Mori (Dalgety)’ and ‘Pushing Up Burr-daisies (Boloco)’, these images were taken on Ngarigo country around Dalgety in the Snowy Mountains region, Southern NSW. The images reflect on the ephemerality of human presence within a foreboding and temperamental landscape and question the evolving nature of our relationships with fraught history, colonial monuments and contested legacies. Felicity Fenner, Chair of City of Sydney’s Public Art Advisory Panel and curatorial consultant to Macquarie Group, writes “These photographs by Lachlan Bell are set in regional Australia. The forgotten graves in a country churchyard, and the rusting petrol bowsers superfluous in a modern world, stand like sentries protecting memories embedded in the landscapes of lives past.”

Lachlan Bell’s 2020 photograph ‘Memento Mori (Dalgety)’ has been acquired by the Macquarie Group Collection and will sit alongside works of acclaimed artists such as Ben Quilty, Emily Kane Kngwarreye, Juan Ford, Joan Ross, Mabel Juli, Reg Mombassa, Shaun Gladwell, Janet Laurence to name a few. Director of the Macquarie Group Collection, Helen Burton, said: “Congratulations to our winners. The exceptional quality of the finalists’ works reflects the depth of talent to be found among Australia’s next generation of visual artists. This year, we received a record number of submissions and I’d like to congratulate everyone who entered the Prize. Thankyou for sharing your unique talent.”

Official press release for the Macquarie Group Emerging Artist Prize:

The works submitted by Lachlan and the other 9 finalists are available to purchase and view in the online exhibition. A limited run of 6 prints is being made for Lachlan’s two photographs, and for any inquiries, questions or potential commissions please contact him via email:

Lachlan is also currently a Finalist in the Blacktown City Art Prize and the UNSW Kudos Gallery Emerging Artist + Designer Prize, and is currently working as a research assistant for UNSW Lecturer Clare Milledge for the upcoming 2022 Sydney Biennale.

Lachlan’s work is also visible on his website: L[C]Bell and on Instagram:

By Kristi Barrow

Loves all things Estonian. Especially Crafters Elderflower gin. Aussie born.