Mariam Arcilla is a culture writer, marketer, curator, and creative director based in Sydney.
Born to a Filipino artist and a Singaporean flight stewardess, Mariam zigzagged between four countries and spent her kidhood engrossed in art studios, galleries, and libraries. Today, she collaborates with artists and creative groups on projects that connect the public with makers and thinkers from various fields.
As a writer, she spotlights art, design, fashion, architecture, food, and technology. She has contributed profiles, essays, and reviews to leading publications, namely VAULT: Australasian Art & Culture, ACCLAIM, Broadsheet, Art Monthly Australia, Neue Luxury, and RUNWAY. Her catalogue texts have appeared in Gippsland Art Gallery, Metro Arts, Spiro Grace Art Rooms, and Sophie Gannon Gallery. Mariam also freelances as a multimedia copywriter at Uber and Uber Eats across Australia and New Zealand, covering everything from city guides and restaurants profiles to industry snapshots and tech hacks.
As a digital marketer, curator, and producer, Mariam has worked on programs and campaigns with THE WALLS Art Space, Institute of Modern Art, Liquid Architecture, Arts Queensland, Uber and Uber Eats, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art, Home of the Arts, and Semi Permanent. During her time in local and state government, she managed creative industries events, tourism campaigns, and design-thinking programs. She has also authored social media policies, digital strategies, and media content for the art, design, science, innovation, and tech sectors.
Mariam graduated in 2006 from a BA Honours (First Class) and Bachelor of Creative Arts degree from Griffith University. She holds a double major in Writing and Contemporary Art Theory & Practice, with minors in Public Relations and Journalism.
From 2006-2014, Mariam forged her career on the Gold Coast through the seminal roles of Co-Founder and Co-Director of Rabbit & Cocoon (now Miami Marketta), Tinygold artist-run project, and 19 KAREN Contemporary Artspace. For Tinygold, she curated emerging art exhibitions and performances in unconventional sites. This led Mariam to secure a philanthropist partnership to renovate an empty warehouse into 19 KAREN, where she curated monthly programs of an emerging and experimental slant.
After cementing exhibition spaces, her next agenda was to provide production pathways for artists and entrepreneurs. She worked with a small team to transform 14 disused warehouses into Rabbit & Cocoon – a creative precinct housing studios, design labs, start-up businesses, multi-venue spaces, a cafe, and a radio station. She also helped develop Miami Marketta, which remains a cultural destination on the Gold Coast, while 19 KAREN now operates under a commercial structure.
At age 27, Mariam featured on the front cover of the White Pages Gold Coast Phonebook for her outstanding services to the arts (back when telephone directories were delivered to doorsteps across Australia). By 30, she was named by The Courier Mail Newspaper as one of the ’50 Best & Brightest Queenslanders.’ Her work has been covered on ABC TV/Radio, The Straits Times Singapore, The Sydney Morning Herald, SBS Radio, Channel 9 News, Pedestrian TV, and Bullett Media.
After 20 years in Queensland, Mariam relocated to Sydney in late 2016. Back in the mercurial arms of freelance, she currently works on editorial, marketing and programming content for various institutions in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast. On a day off, you’ll find her at galleries, libraries, and in someone’s art studio—some things don’t change. 😉
Say hi to Mariam here.
Home Page cover image:
Mariam photographed in Brisbane by Hannah Roche, for BNE GIRLS.