Zanny Begg is a Sydney based artist, writer and organiser. Her work uses humour, understated drawings and found cultural artifacts to explore ways in which we can live and be in the world differently.

Zanny probes the social and spatial architecture of life in urban environments and questions how to be political today. For a list of recent projects and exhibitions click here.


Begg’s expanded conception of artistic practice integrates the socially engaged function of self-organised activity, the strategic constitution of new publics, with the socially concerned content of her more properly artistic works, which offer a symbolic imagining of the political sophistication—potential and actual—of these new publics. Through this dual politicisation, Begg and her complex network of Australian and international collaborators, a continuation of the activist networks developed by the 1990s social movements who first realised the communicative power of the internet, participate in a significant revitalisation of the social function of aesthetic production that works with and against existing institutional structures to stake a claim for symbolic and political autonomy - Reuben Keehan, Of Beatial Acts and Rabbits in Hats, Broadsheet, Volume 38.3, Sep/Nov 2009.






Salon Fluchthilfe, Part of Utopian Pulse – Flares in the Darkroom, The Secession, Vienna, will open on October 1. For project information click here.

Doing Time is a 9:24min video developed in collaboration with four teenage boys in a maximum security jail. The video was created as part of a four month residency at Reiby Juvenile Detention Centre and was exhibited as part of an installation The Boys Home for the exhibition The List, Campbeltown Arts Centre. To read a comment piece in The Conversation click here.

waq waq tree

In the Shade of a Waq Waq Tree, a 5m collaborative drawing, created through drawing workshops with participants in refugee detention centres and with people in community detention. Lead artists Safdar Ahmed, Zanny Begg,Mona Moradveisi, Murtaza Ali Jafari with contributions from Bashir Ahmed, Mansoora Gulzari, Parastoo Bahrami, Neda Bahrami, Mohammad, Madina Sayer, Farnaz Yegan, Kamaleshwaran Selladurai, Susie Egg, Daminda Ehsan and Tabarak. Developed as part of the exhibition project Utopian Pulse, Flares in the Darkroom The Secession, Vienna.

was launched at Berkelouw Books, Paddington, on December 1st with a bunch of zines made by refugees who are either in detention or have recently been released. Over $2000 worth of zines were sold and around 400 people turned up. All proceeds went to The Refugee Art Project.

New Videos

Washing Bin Laden (2013) 10mins
A film by Zanny Begg

“bin Ladens” is a colloquial term for the EU$500 note, one of the highest value banknotes in the world. The term emerged because although a quarter of all the $500 euros printed are circulating within Spain – no one ever sees them in ordinary transactions: their role is mostly confined to money laundering activities.

Washing bin Laden looks at the notion of financial crisis in Spain through the story of Enric Duran a modern day Robin Hood of the Banks who stole almost half a million euros and gave it to social organisations like AureaSocial. A EU$500 note is gifted to AureaSocial, a hub for the movement of financial disobedience, to explore if activists can “wash” money of its oppressive role.

The Right of Passage (2013)

“We can’t imagine a global citizenship or any concept of dynamic citizenship if we also don’t think about it not only in terms of law but in terms of the political economy of bodies that move. There have to be structures that can receive and host this kind of movement - This is why citizenship is not simply a subjective phenomenon but also an “objective” phenomenon of hospitality”, Antoni Negri, The Right of Passage.

A film by Zanny Begg and Oliver Ressler, 19mins

In their third collaborative film Zanny Begg (Sydney) and Oliver Ressler (Vienna) focus on struggles to obtain citizenship, while at the same time questioning the implicitly exclusionary nature of the concept.

The Right of Passage is partially constructed through a series of interviews with Ariella Azoulay, Antonio Negri and Sandro Mezzadra. These interviews form the starting point for a discussion in Barcelona, one of Europe’s most densely populated and multicultural cities, with a group of people living “without papers”. The film is set at night, against a city skyline, providing a dark void from which those marginalized and excluded can articulate their own relationship to the arbitrary nature of national identity and citizenship. Spain was chosen for this project as it is teetering on the brink of financial meltdown and is testing the limits of European cohesion.

The title, The Right of Passage, refers to the stages, or “rites of passage” that mark important transitions on the path to selfhood. The exchange of “rites” with “rights” suggests that freedom of movement must become a right granted to every person – regardless of his or her place of birth. As the film explores these journeys not only transform those who embark upon them but also the places they inhabit.