Brad Darkson is a multidisciplinary artist currently working across various media including carving, video, sound, animation, sculpture, painting and site-specific installation. 'Cultural-revival-activism' permeates his work, regularly focusing on connections between contemporary and traditional cultural practice, language and lore. His current research interests include traditional land management practices, bureaucracy, seaweed, and the neo-capitalist hellhole we're all forced to exist within. Conceptually Darkson's work is informed by his First Nations and Anglo Australian heritage. Brad's mob on his Dad's side is the Chester family, with lineages to Narungga (Point Pearce) and many other Nations in South Australia from Ngarrindjeri (Raukkan) to Far West Coast (Poonindie, Sheringa), and Nyungar (Annesfield, Albany WA). On his Mum's side he's from the Colley and Ball convict and settler migrant families, both arriving in 1839 aboard the Duchess of Northumberland.
In 2015 he completed a BFA at the University of South Australia and in 2017 he completed an MFAD at the University of Tasmania. Since graduating, Darkson has exhibited extensively nationally as well as internationally, with acquisitions including City of Adelaide, Guildhouse and the Australian War Memorial. He was recently selected as a finalist in the 2023 Tatiara Art Prize and listed as one of “the artists shaping today” by ArtsHub (2 August 2023).
Select exhibitions include Between Waves, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2023 (national tour confirmed); Dream Job, Disclaimer X Sydney Opera House co-commission (online, 2023); Ruled Us, Ruled Us, Ruled Us, Adelaide Contemporary Experimental with the Santos Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide Botanic Gardens (2023); Make Yourself Comfortable, Post Office Projects, Adelaide (2022); Neoteric, Adelaide Railway Station (2022); Experimenta Life Forms (nationally touring 2021–2024); Adelaide//International, Samstag Museum, Adelaide (2020); VIETNAM – ONE IN, ALL IN (nationally touring 2019–2021); The Return, Dark Mofo, Hobart (2018); and Lux Aeterna, ISEA, Gwangju (2019).
Darkson currently sits on the board of The Australian Network for Art and Technology, the Guildhouse Artist Advisory Group, the board of Young Farmers Connect, and occasionally as an Arts South Australia peer assessor.
In addition to his visual arts practice, Brad moonlights as a researcher, environmental advocate and fisheries license holder in the nascent South Australian seaweed industry. In 2019, alongside his wife, marine biologist Dr Chloe Darkson, Brad founded a social enterprise, Moonrise Seaweed Co. This family business has garnered national and international support to regenerate Country and prioritise First Nations leadership.