Olivia Dryden

Jeweller & Taxidermy Artist

My name is Olivia Dryden, I am a jeweller and taxidermy artist. Since graduating from Adelaide College of the Arts in 2014, my career has advanced more than I could have ever imagined. Most of this is due to the amazing opportunities the Helpmann Academy offers emerging artists.

In 2015, I was fortunate to travel to India for the Helpmann Academy ‘Sanskriti Kendra Residency’. For me, the six week residency was an opportunity to escape from my life, be ripped out of my comfort zone and thrown into a world of culture, colour, religion, contrast and overall, just an amazing country.

I came back with so many new ideas, and techniques I was eager to try. The residency helped me not only develop my skills, but taught me to prioritize my art. I realised how lucky I was to have a creative passion, and that I wasn’t going to let daily life get in the way of pursuing my dream.

I have since participated in multiple exhibitions, and have just opened the solo exhibition I designed while in India, at Hill Smith Gallery (it’s open until 22 July, please check it out!) The exhibition was made possible due to this amazing residency and the opportunities it offered.

I was recently awarded one of the inaugural Helpmann Academy Fellowships, supported by the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation valued at up to $20,000 each. This fellowship is allowing me spend three months in London establishing connections and networking opportunities to further develop my skills in taxidermy and jewellery making.

My principal reason for undertaking this program is the rare chance to participate in workshops that are unavailable in Australia. Not only does London offer the huge range of workshops needed to develop my skills, it also has a rich history and culture that I am eager to immerse myself in. Over the last year, through travel and research, my curiosity with death has grown. How different cultures and religions deal with death differently, currently and in the past fascinates me greatly.

I’m looking forward to delving into further into the art and rituals of death and mourning whilst undertaking the Fellowship. While in London I will also have my first international solo exhibition, which will be a huge career highlight for me.

The support and encouragement that Helpmann has provided are key contributing factors to the development of my art, and my career. I am so grateful to have had these opportunities and without Helpmann many of them simply would not have been possible.

Helpmann have been there for me in so many ways – they have been a source of knowledge, support, networking, and countless opportunities for professional development. Thanks to Helpmann, I have grown so much as an artist and their continuing support really has been life changing.

Please, if you are in the position to do so, donate and help this wonderful organisation keep changing the lives of South Australian emerging artists.

Olivia Dryden
Jeweller and Taxidermy Artist
Olivia Dryden Jewellery

Photo: Olivia Dryden in India, courtesy of the artist. 

Olivia Dryden was selected for the 2015 Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition, she undertook the 2015 Sanskriti Kendra Residency in India and is an inaugural Helpmann Fellowship Recipient (supported by the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation). 


We’ve invited some Helpmann supported artists to tell you, in their own words, how a gift from you makes a difference.

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