I acknowledge the Kaurna and Bunganditj people, upon whose Country I live and research, and hold deep respect to elders past, present and emerging.
Sera Waters is an Adelaide based artist, arts writer and academic. Since being awarded a Ruth Tuck Scholarship in 2006 to study hand embroidery at the Royal School of Needlework (UK), Waters’ art practice has been characterised by a darkly stitched meticulousness. Her embroideries and hand-crafted sculptures dwell within the gaps of Australian histories to examine settler-colonial home-making patterns and practices, especially her own genealogical ghostscapes. More recently Waters has been exploring how textile traditions can help navigate a future affected by climate change.
In 2022, Waters was included in the 2022 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Free/State at Art Gallery of South Australia (curated by Sebastian Goldspink). Her series, Storied Sail Cloths, then travelled to the Busan Biennale 2022: We, on the Rising Wave, South Korea (curated by Haeju Kim). Throughout 2022 Waters also continued her ‘Future Traditions’ project, enabled by being awarded the 2020 Guildhouse Fellowship (with Art Gallery of South Australia, supported by the James & Diana Ramsay Foundation). The outcome of this research was exhibited in Gallery 8 at Art Gallery of South Australia from November 2022 until April 2023.
From 2020 until late 2021, Waters' solo exhibition, Domestic Arts, toured South Australian regional galleries with Country Arts SA (presented in partnership with ACE Open). This exhibition was developed from being the 2017 recipient of the inaugural ACE Open South Australian artist commission. Other major exhibitions include Dark Portals, at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of Western Australia (2013), Sappers and Shrapnel at Art Gallery of South Australia (2016) and Going Round in Squares at Ararat Gallery TAMA (2019).
Her works are held by the Cruthers collection of Women’s art, Ararat Regional Gallery, the Art Gallery of South Australia, Powerhouse and private collections nationwide. Waters is a studio member of Central Studios, lecturer at Adelaide Central School of Art, and is represented by Hugo Michell Gallery.
PhD, School of Art, Architecture and Design, University of South Australia
Master of Arts in Arts History, Adelaide University
Bachelor of Visual Arts (First Class Honours), University of South Australia
Future Traditions, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide SA
Familiar Activism: Truth-Telling, Noticeboard United, Uffington, Lincolnshire UK
Specks, Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide SA
Domestic Arts, touring with Country Arts SA to SA regional galleries (from 2020-2021)
Dazzleland, Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide SA
Going Round in Squares, Ararat Gallery (TAMA), Ararat Vic
Genealogical Ghostscapes, praxis ARTSPACE, Adelaide SA
Limb by Limb, Art Collective WA, Perth WA
Domestic Arts, ACE Open, Adelaide SA
Spectre Folk, Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide SA
Ghostscapes, Fontanelle Gallery, Adelaide SA
Dark Portals, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of Western Australia WA
Busan Biennale 2022: We, on the Rising Wave, Museum of Contemporary Art, Busan, South Korea
Free/State, 2022 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
A Tangled Bank, Penrith Regional Gallery, Penrith
Text Tile, Caves Gallery, Melbourne
Eucalyptusdom, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (Powerhouse), Sydney
Embroidery: Oppression to Expression, The David Roche Foundation, Adelaide
Weaving Futures, Australian Tapestry Workshop, Melbourne
Drawn Thread, artisan, Brisbane
We Wish to Communicate HOPE: SA Artists for Climate Action, Noticeboard United, Uffington, Lincolnshire UK
Domestic Craft, curator: Nicole O’Loughlin, Rosny Barn, Hobart TAS
Chaozhou International Embroidery Art Biennial, China
Stitch Cult, artisan, Brisbane Qld
DECADE, Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide SA
WORD, Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide SA
Psychache, Holy Rollers, Adelaide SA
Making History, Hahndorf Academy, Hahndorf, SA
Wangaratta Textile Award, Wangaratta Gallery, Vic
The Great Suffragist Dirigible, Adelaide Town Hall, Adelaide SA
Craft Anonymous, curated by Polly Dance, touring regional SA
Illusions of History, Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide SA
Fleurieu Art Prize, Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide SA
15 Artists 2016, Redcliffe City Art Gallery, Redcliffe, Qld
Skin Off Our Time, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide SA
Slipstitch, Ararat Regional Gallery (and touring Vic and NSW until 2017)
Mythology of my Land, .M Contemporary, Woollahra NSW
Craft Anonymous, curator: Polly Dance, Adelaide Town Hall (touring regional SA 2016-2018), SA
135th Meridian East, aeaf, Adelaide SA
Art House: the local ghost laboratory, Stall 61, Adelaide Central Markets, Adelaide SA
Life, Stitching, Riddoch Art Gallery, Mount Gambier SA
Crystal Palace, Flinders University Gallery, Adelaide SA
Beyoncé is a feminist, Fontanelle Gallery, Adelaide SA
See Unseen, Adelaide Central Gallery, Adelaide SA
Nadlewerk, Galerie Handwerk, Munich, Germany
Objectified, SASA Gallery, curator: Karen Paris, Adelaide SA
...build me a city, AEAF, curated by Vivonne Thwaites, Adelaide SA
Sensorial Loop, Tamworth Textile Triennial, curated by Patrick Snelling, Tamworth, NSW (+ touring)
Imagining Interiors, curated by Wendy Walker, Jam Factory, Adelaide, SA
Home Stories, Adelaide Central Gallery + Migration Museum, curated by Vivonne Thwaites, Adelaide SA
Talente 2009, International Trade Fair, Munich, Germany
Guildhouse Fellowship 2020, Guildhouse, Art Gallery of South Australia & James and Diana Ramsay Foundation
Selected for Ramsay Art Prize 2019, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide SA.
Arts Projects for Individuals and Groups funding, Australia Council for the Arts
Winner of The Hill Smith Gallery/UniSA Postgraduate Award, Helpmann Graduate Exhibition 2018.
Winner of Heysen Prize for Landscape 2016
Australian Tapestry Workshop residency, Melbourne
Scholarship to attend Textile Society of America Symposium, Savannah, Georgia, USA
Hawke EU Centre Travel Bursary: Mnemonics: Memory and Materialism workshop, King’s College, London
Liz Cooper, ‘imperfect past tense’, embroidery (UK), January/February 2022, pp. 32-37.
Daniel Mudie Cunningham, 'Notable Accolades: 17: Sera Waters', Art Collector: 50 Things Collectors Should Know, #95 Jan-Mar 2021, pp.119-121
Sarah McEwan, 'Remembering and reckoning with the past: time travel in rural South AUstralia', catalogue essay to accompany Sera Waters: Domestic Arts, Country Arts SA touring exhibition
Sheridan Coleman, ‘Sera Waters unpicks the long stitches of Australian History ‘, Art Guide Australia (online: https://artguide.com.au/sera-waters-unpicks-the-long-stitches-of-australian-history), October 2018.
Miriam Kelly, ‘Sera Waters: Domestic Arts’, Artlink, Issue 37:4, December, pp. 48-55. https://www.artlink.com.au/articles/4643/sera-waters-domestic-arts/
Interview with Sarah Kanowski, ‘Sera Waters’ Ghostly Embroideries’, Friday 21 July 2017, Radio National
John McDonald, ‘Sappers and Shrapnel’, Sydney Morning Herald, January 13, http://johnmcdonald.net.au/2017/sappers-and-shrapnel/
Jane Llewellyn, ‘Sera Waters celebrates the Domestic Arts’, The Adelaide Review, July 21 2018, https://www.adelaidereview.com.au/arts/visual-arts/sera-waters-celebrates-domestic-arts/
Visiting Academic at RCA Doctoral Training Program, September 14, Royal College of Art, London UK
Workshop leader: embroidery, ‘Creating out of place’ winter school, J. M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, University of Adelaide, Oratunga, South Australia, July 5-10.
The Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art: University of Western Australia
Art Gallery of South Australia
Ararat Regional Gallery
Private Collections across Australia