Zanny Begg | Artwork & Practice



The Beehive, 2018 – Video Artwork

Commissioned by ACMI and Artbank, and exhibited at ACMI 2018, Sydney Festival UNSW Galleries 2019, and IMA Brisbane 2019, The Beehive is a non-linear experimental documentary exploring the unsolved murder of Sydney anti-development campaigner and glamorous style icon Juanita Nielsen in 1975.

Juanita Nielsen campaigned against the violent eviction of tenants in Kings Cross, who were being pushed out to make way for apartment blocks. Juanita disappeared on the 4th of July 1975. Her body has never been found, and her murderers never charged.

The Beehive consists of scripted fictions, documentary interviews and choreographed scenes with multiple actors playing the role of Juanita. The film is ever-changing, as a different combination of the footage is randomly selected for each screening with 1,344 possible variations.

The work presents a kaleidoscopic portrait of Juanita Nielsen and is an exploration of issues (and experiences) of corruption, housing justice, non-conventional lifestyles and gentrification then and now.

Zanny Begg is a thoughtful voice the forefront of a generation of filmmakers

Katrina Sedgwick, ACMI Director and CEO

The City of Ladies, 2017 – Video Artwork

The City of Ladies is a video installation comprised of semi-randomly generated fragments of a film made in collaboration with young activists and feminists in Paris. Each time the film is screened these fragments will compile in different ways creating over 300,000 possible narratives inviting multiple readings of feminism.

Co-directed with Elise McLeod, and premiered at theMCA, Sydney in The National 2017, The City of Ladies was exhibited at Odessa Biennale, Ukraine, The Industrial Biennale, Croatia, rotor gallery, Gratz, “The Idea of the Avant-Garde”, NeMe, Cyprus, and My Life to Live, Nova Gallery, Zagreb.

The project is inspired by the fifteenth century proto-feminist novel of the same name by France’s first professional female writer Christine de Pizan. The City of Ladies was written in 1402 and creates a utopian city built, populated and governed by women. de Pizan aimed to subvert masculine versions of history by describing, what she called, feminania, a pro-female view of the world.


Kannagi, 2019 – Video Artwork

Commissioned by STARTTS (Service for the Treatment And Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors) and created in collaboration with members of the Tamil community in Western Sydney, Kannagi premiered in Salamanca Markets, Tasmania, in the exhibition Older Than Language. The project was funded by Australia Council for the Arts and STARTTS.

Stories of Kannagi was initiated by Jiva Parthipan and created in collaboration with members of the Tamil community in Western Sydney. The film reimagines the 2000 year old story of Kannagi, a young woman who is forced into exile by the misdeeds of her husband, yet defends him against injustice in their new homeland. When her husband is executed for a crime he did not commit Kannagi confronts the King – proving his innocence through a powerful speech. Her rage destroys the existing order.

Stories of Kannagi features three Tamil writers based in Australia, Niromi de Soyza, Shankari Chandaran and Srisha Sritharan, who also use language as a form of resistance to injustice. Niromi de Soyza is the author of Tamil Tigress, a memoir of her experiences s a child soldier in the Sri Lankan civil war; Shankari Chandran is the author of Song of the Sun God a three generation saga across Sri Lanka and Australia; and Srisha Sritharan is a musician and the NSW Slam Poet Champion. Stories of Kannagi explores the impact that colonisation and civil war has had on Tamil communities living outside of Sri Lanka by looking at interrelated issues of love, language, feminism and story telling.

Listen to an interview with Jiva Parthipan and Zanny Begg on SBS radio.


This exhibition, curated by UNSW Galleries and designed for tour, brings together the artist’s most significant works to date including The Beehive (2018), City of Ladies (2017) and a new work Kannagi, (2019).

Zanny Begg was the recipient of the inaugural $70,000 Artbank + ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) Commission for her video installation The Beehive about the murder of Sydney activist Juanita Nielsen.



Zanny Begg is an award winning artist and film-maker whose work has been widely exhibited in Australia and around the world including in various biennials (Istanbul, Taipei, Sharjah, Limerick and Odessa) and exhibitions at Contemporary Art Tasmania, Hobart; Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art; Melbourne International Film Festival; Campbelltown Arts Centre; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; Wagga Wagga Art Gallery; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía; The Secession; Artbank; Bank Art Museum Moree among others.

She is the 2017 recipient of the inaugural ACMI and Artbank film commission, the 2016 winner of the Incinerator Art Award, Art for Social Change, and the 2016 winner of the Terrence and Lynnette Fern Cite Residency Paris and has been selected for the Melbourne International Film Festival, the Antenna Documentary festival and Soho Film Festival (NY).

She was included in the 2017 iteration of The National at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia with her collaborative work (with Elise Mcleod) The City of Ladies which was acquired into their collection. She was invited by Werner Herzog to attend his Rogue School in Munich (2016) and to attend the HIVE LAB Adelaide (2017).

Her most recent work The Beehive, starring Pamela Rabe and Nicholas Hope, had its NSW premiere at UNSW Galleries as part of The Sydney Festival in 2019 and received widespread media attention and reviews.

Zanny has a PhD in Art Theory and is a lecturer at UNSW Art + Design and is on the Artist Advisory Board for the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. She is the 2016 winner of the Incinerator Art Award, Art for Social Change and the 2016 winner of the Terrence and Lynnette Fern Cite Residency Paris.





A UNSW Galleries and Museums & Galleries of NSW touring exhibition.