Meet the art stars of tomorrow at the 2023 National Art School Graduate Show

See bold and exciting new work by 136 graduating students in this dynamic exhibition.
National Art School. Image is a group of women behind a table and looking at the ceramics displayed on it.

The National Art School (NAS) comes alive this month as it celebrates the work of its graduating Bachelor of Fine Art students. Firmly established as a landmark event on Sydney’s busy cultural calendar, the NAS Grad Show is the perfect opportunity for art lovers to meet the art stars of tomorrow.

This year’s vibrant exhibition showcases the bold and exciting work of 136 outstanding BFA students.

‘We are so proud to showcase this amazing cohort,’ says Lorraine Kypiotis, Head of Undergraduate Studies at NAS.

The exhibition spans a wide range of visual arts practice from drawing, painting, photomedia and printmaking to ceramics and sculpture, with ambitious and diverse works that talk to future trends in art making in Australia.  

’It really gives people an exciting opportunity to meet the next wave of emerging artists and start following their careers,’ she says.

Together the works form a rich and eclectic exhibition that showcases the creativity and concerns of the students as they emerge from three years of intensive studio-based learning and academic research. They will now join the impressive ranks of NAS alumni who include many of Australia’s most accomplished artists from Max Dupain, John Olsen and Margaret Olley to Cressida Campbell, Brett Whiteley and Mitch Cairns.

‘Our graduates over the years have gone on to become finalists in many major art prizes including the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman, the National Photographic Portrait Prize and Sculpture by the Sea. This year alone four NAS graduates were Archibald finalists. The latest accolade should probably go to Todd Fuller who has just won the Contemporary Prize in the 61st Fisher’s Ghost Art Prize, with a number of NAS graduates awarded Highly Commended,’ says Kypiotis.

Their success was also on show at the 2023 Sydney Contemporary Art Fair where NAS exhibited the work of eight recent graduates. Each represented artist sold works and some even sold out. The artists also attracted interest from numerous commercial galleries and art collectors, demonstrating their  great potential as emerging artists. And, each year, students in the Grad Show attract the interest of the major commercial galleries.

The 2023 NAS Grad Show runs from 1-10 December with exhibitions across the NAS campus, which is housed in the heritage-listed former Darlinghurst Gaol on Forbes Street. Tickets are still available for the prestigious Opening Night event on 30 November – it’s free and open to all but you must register on Eventbrite. As well presenting the curated art exhibition, the campus will also have food trucks, bars and DJs for a fun party atmosphere.

‘It’s always a fabulous night with an incredible vibe,’ says Kypiotis. ‘Over 3000 people attended last year! And now, with only a couple of weeks to go, the excitement among the students is palpable.’

The artworks in the Grad Show are for sale and, with prices from $500 to $5000, there’s something for everyone. ‘It really is a tremendous opportunity to pick up a piece from the next generation of rising stars,’ says Kypiotis. And if you can’t get to the show in Sydney, you can also buy online.  

‘Come to the Grad Show and you really can catch a glimpse of the future of Australian contemporary art,’ Kypiotis concludes. “It may be the night you buy your first artwork – every purchase makes a huge difference to our graduating students, supporting and encouraging them as they head out into the wider world after art school.”


Opening Night: Thursday 30 November, 6–10pm

Exhibition: Friday 1 – Sunday 10 December 2023, 11am–5pm

National Art School, 156 Forbes Street, Darlinghurst

Dr Diana Carroll is a writer, speaker, and reviewer based in Adelaide. Her work has been published in newspapers and magazines including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Woman's Day, and B&T. Writing about the arts is one of her great passions.