Mariam Arcilla is a writer, communications gal, researcher, and curator of Filipina-Singaporean origin. Her father is an artist/musician who made her childhood toys out of clay, fibre optics, gold mirrors, and guitar strings. Her mother is a retired flight attendant who taught her how to put lipstick on without a mirror.
Mariam spent her childhood buried in books and art studios. Today she covers art, design, fashion, and architecture, and has been published in VAULT: Australasian Art & Culture, Neue Luxury, Broadsheet, Art Monthly Australia, The Thousands, and RealTime.
She graduated from Griffith University with a First Class Honours degree, and holds a double major in Contemporary Art Theory & Practice and Creative Writing, with minors in Public Relations and Journalism. Mariam forged her curatorial career on the Gold Coast by co-founding and directing the creative precinct Rabbit & Cocoon (now Miami Marketta), Tinygold artist-run project, and 19 KAREN Contemporary Artspace.
Through Tinygold, Mariam transformed abandoned sites into spaces for emerging art exhibitions, talks, and performances. This led her to partner with a philanthropist to establish 19 KAREN, where as Gallery Director, Mariam curated programs of an emerging and experimental slant.
With exhibition spaces cemented, her next agenda was to provide artists, designers, and entrepreneurs with avenues for work & show. So after two years, Mariam left the gallery to co-establish and run Rabbit & Cocoon, a 14-warehouse precinct comprising art studios, design labs, galleries, performance spaces, and a radio station. During this time, she helped develop the signature community program Miami Marketta, which remains a cultural destination on the Gold Coast, while 19 KAREN now operates as a commercial gallery.
Mariam has also collaborated with institutions like Uber, The Walls, Liquid Architecture, Institute of Modern Art, Gold Coast City Gallery, and Semi Permanent, on projects and campaigns that connect communities with makers and thinkers from various fields.
At age 27, Mariam was featured on the cover of the White Pages Gold Coast Phonebook for her services to the arts. She has been named as one of the 50 Best and Brightest Queenslanders by The Courier Mail newspaper, and received a City of Gold Coast Cultural Achievement Award for her role in Rabbit & Cocoon. Her projects have been featured on ABC TV, The Straits Times Singapore, The Sydney Morning Herald, SBS Radio, Channel 9 News, FBi Radio, Pedestrian TV, Triple J Radio and Bullett Media.
After five years working in the arts and culture department of Queensland’s public sector, Mariam returned to freelance in late 2016 and now works in Sydney, the Gold Coast, and Brisbane.
Image courtesy of Precinct Magazine, Gold Coast.