My name is Mariam Arcilla (she/her). I’m a Sydney-based artsworker and storyteller whocollaborates with artists and organisations to turn radiant ideas into exhibitions, publications, dialogues, and resources.
My practice metabolises through writing, editing, gallery managing, arts communications, creative producing, digital strategy, and cultural policy. Rooted in the Australian sector since 2006, I’ve held senior roles at museums, commercial galleries, tech companies, and government departments in Southeast Queensland and New South Wales. I was a co-founding director of artist-run collectives and served as a consultant for various cultural policies and arts community programs.
Currently, I work at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art as the Communications & Engagement Manager, where I shape programs, publications, and engagement avenues to amplify cross-cultural dialogues between Australia and Asia. I’m also the Deputy Chair at Runway Journal and a participant in the Future Leaders 2022 program at the Australia Council for the Arts.
My childhood was zigzagged between the Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong, a by-product of being born to a Filipino artist and Singaporean air stewardess. I come from a family of artists and creative cooks, which led me to pursue an elastic and cross-field career. Immigrating to Australia in 1996, I lived on the Gold Coast for 20 years. A decade later, I graduated from Griffith University with first class Honours after completing a double-degree in Bachelor of Creative Arts in Contemporary Art & Writing (Minors in PR and Journalism).
Across the next seven years, I co-founded tinygold artist-run project, followed by 19 KAREN gallery, and Miami Marketta creative precinct. As a Director of these initiatives, I partnered with emerging artists, cultural workers, property owners, educators, and businesses to seed projects and activate sites for creative use. These tenures led me to study council regulations, cultural tourism and placemaking frameworks.
From 2010-2016, I was employed by the City of Gold Coast and Queensland Government to contribute to public strategies and projects to sustain the arts economy. During this time, I initiated programs and interventions across art, design, information technology, and architecture.
A creative tech opportunity lured me to Sydney in 2016, where we delivered educational UX content and campaigns implemented on a global scale. Returning to the gallery sector in 2019, I helped establish the Sydney branch of STATION Australia, where we managed Melbourne and Sydney exhibitions until the temporary covid lockdown closure.
As a freelancer, I operate simultaneously across writing, producing, events management, digital production, and arts marketing. I’m an avid collaborator who has worked on campaigns, partnerships, and projects with leading bodies, namely: Institute of Modern Art,Museum of Brisbane, THE WALLS, Asia Pacific Design Library, State Library of Queensland, Art Month Sydney, Powerhouse Museum, QAGOMA, HOTA, Queensland Design Council, Uber, The Entree Pinays, Semipermanent, Renew Newcastle, and Liquid Architecture.
At aged 30, I was named by The Courier Mail newspaper as one of the 50 Best & Brightest Queenslanders and featured on the The White Pages Phonebook cover for significant community work. These info-bibles were stacked across Australian homes back in 2009—much to the amusement of my friends’ mums, especially when they needed a plumber’s number! Elsewhere, my work is profiled in The Straits Times Singapore, SBS Filipino,TimeOut, Gourmet Traveler, Getaway TV, Sydney Morning Herald, Broadsheet, abc TV, The Philippines Embassy, and Channel 9 News.
Lockdown aside, you’d normally find me at a museum or art studio. Or at home concocting food experiments. My first word as a baby was kitchen-chicken; my flirtation with word combos started early!
I live and create on the unceded lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the grounds and waters that I communicate and travel across. I pay my respects to Elders past, present, and emerging, and I extend this warmth to all descendants of First Nations artists, storytellers, and knowledge keepers. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal Land.