Jen Valender is an Australasian artist who was born in Aotearoa New Zealand and is based in Naarm Melbourne, Australia. She creates performative encounters on and with the landscape that raise questions about the relationship between art and the natural world. Through film, performance, sculpture, and sound artworks, Valender explores the ways in which art may be used to investigate and navigate human and nonhuman connections.

Grounded in the cinematic, she is inspired by site-specificity, material conditions, ecology, ethical dilemmas and poetic problems. Her work identifies visual art as an aesthetic language that has the powerful ability to complicate and contain multiple perspectives and histories simultaneously. Her past collaborations include working with friendly pythons, new born calves, house flies and a retired granite quarry.

Having exhibited in galleries, museums and public spaces locally and internationally, Valender has worked with: Saatchi Gallery (London); Museum of Art and Culture & Multi-Arts Pavilion (Lake Macquarie); Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne); MPavilion (Melbourne); Centre for Projection Art (Melbourne); Spier Light Art Festival (Stellenbosch); Heide Museum of Modern Art (Melbourne); Ian Potter Museum of Art (Melbourne); Wrong Biennale (Portugal/France); Gertrude Street Projection Festival (Melbourne); Collingwood Yards Art Precinct (Melbourne); WIRWIR Gallery (Berlin); Melbourne Fringe Festival; Circus Oz (Melbourne); Benalla Art Gallery (Victoria); Rosi Braidotti Posthuman Artist Labs (Utrecht University); Abbotsford Convent (Melbourne); Metro Tunnel Art (Melbourne); Centre of Visual Art (University of Melbourne); Manly Art Gallery & Museum (NSW); Campbell Arcade (Melbourne); The Mission to Seafarers (Melbourne); Bilpin International Ground for Creative Initiatives (Blue Mountains); Gasworks Arts Park (Melbourne); The New Precinct (University of Melbourne); Mars Gallery (Melbourne); Bus Projects (Melbourne); Fortyfivedownstairs Gallery (Melbourne); Artists for Artists (New York); Blak Dot Gallery (Melbourne); KINGS ARI with FiX Performance Group (Melbourne); and has presented research at conferences at the VCA University of Melbourne, Sydney College of Arts, Griffith University School of Art and the University of Southern Queensland.

Valender was a recipient of the Ian Potter Museum of Art’s Miegunyah Research Award (2019); the Next Wave New Precinct Art Prize (2020); Jim Marks Postgraduate Scholarship (2021); Judges Choice Award, Gertrude Street Projection Festival (2021); an Australia Council for the Arts Grant (2022); and was a finalist in the Wyndham Art Prize (2023) and Manly Art Gallery & Museum Art Prize (2022). 

In 2023, Valender was awarded the Australia Region M&C Saatchi Group and Saatchi Gallery’s Art for Change Prize and presented her paper ‘Artist as Animal’ at the Forum des images in Paris for the International Symposium of Electronic Art. Additionally in 2023, her essay ‘Casting of Nets’, exploring ecology focused artist residencies and human-nonhuman cultural exchanges, was published by Art + Australia and her theory of ‘cross-dissonance’ – used to describe the difficulty of self-positioning as a practice-based artist researcher – was published by The Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools’ peer reviewed journal FINDINGS

In 2024, she has undertaken a commission for the Melbourne Arts Precinct, Federation Square and has solo exhibitions at both the Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) and Testing Grounds in Melbourne. This November, she will present new work in Venice, having been selected as a finalist for the 2024 Arte Laguna International Contemporary Art Prize.

Valender is a resident artist at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and holds a Master of Fine Arts (Research) with first class honours from the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne; a Bachelor of Fine Arts with first class honours from MADA, Monash University; and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology with high distinction from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.  

CV available by request.


As an uninvited guest on First Nations territory, I acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land and waterways on which I have the privilege to live, research and create. Specifically, the Yalukit Willam clan of Euro-Yroke country, known as the coastal tribe of the Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations. I pay respect to all Traditional Owners and Elders past and present.

Artist as Animal film still, International Symposium of Electronic Art 2023 Symbiosis, Forum des images, Paris, France. Photo: Gene Alberts, Broadacre Farm, 2022.          

©jenvalender 2024