news from 2019 back to 2005

Under Twenty-Seven 2019


Under Twenty-Seven  is the third exhibition of black and white portraits following a group of 14 men from boyhood to adulthood.   It will be exhibited at Watt Space, Newcastle in May as a featured exhibition of the Head On Photo Festival and at Bondi Pavilion Gallery in October  2019  

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Finalist Head On Portrait Prize 2019

Portrait of Paul Dooley aka pcd2k, 2018

A  new portrait of artist Paul Dooley aka pcd2k is a selected finalist in the Head On Portrait Prize, exhibited at the Head On Festival Hub in Paddington Town Hall in May, 2019 

Head On Photo Festival

Loud and Luminous Exhibition 2019


Magnificent Mother is  self portrait with unborn son , 1993.   "My aim is to present women with images of themselves they can be proud of. Here are dignified bodies; there is no shame in these voluptuous forms" wrote Ella Dreyfus in the forward to her book The Body Pregnant  in 1993. 

This portrait will be exhibited at Loud and Luminous, a featured exhibition of the Head On Photo Festival at Contact Sheet Gallery, Sydney 11 April, 2019

Loud and Luminous

Age and Consent in Sentient Visibility at GCS Gallery 2018



Age and Consent 1999/2018

How we write is intrinsically connected to what we write and why. When our signature is required, we take extra care; or we used to when signatures were a unique method of declaring our authenticity and identity. As writing becomes less a task of the hand and is more often done with a keyboard, a profound transformation takes place and some loss is inevitable.   I recognised these signatures as exquisite vestiges bestowing agency and respect upon those on the precipice of death. 

Exhibited in Sentient Visibility at Grace Cossington Smith Gallery in 2018

Articulate Your Relations at APS 2018


 ARTICULATE YOUR RELATIONS  is an interactive artwork for the exhibition Eight in 2018. Who are you in relation to Articulate Project Space? Pick up a pen and write yourself into this interactive, accumulative artwork. Plot the pathways of interconnectivity between you and the people you meet here, discover, declare and rejoice in the myriad of ways you are related to one another. “Contemporary art is a social industry. Who you know and whom you have access to is currency.” (Steven Truax, 2018)   

Articulate Project Space

Our Songs at Biennale of Sydney 2018


I sang a Hebrew song alone on stage in the Sydney Town Hall for Akira Takayam'sartwork Our Songs - Sydney Kabuki Project for the Biennale of Sydney 2018. I sang Erev Shel Shoshanim to honour the memory of my father Richard Dreyfus, on the 20th anniversary of his death.  I also sang the song in the ABC Radio National Studios for the Arts Show and Life Matters, produced by Claudia Taranto

radio national interview

The Lads at Tweed River Gallery 2018


The Lads: Nads and Dax, winner of the inaugural Olive Cotton Award for Photographic  Portraiture in 2006 was shown in Go Figure, an exhibition at the Tweed River Gallery Murwillumbah NSW in 2018. 

The judge   

Sally McInerney said "the portrait has beautiful composition and great technical virtuosity. The subjects have arranged themselves like a piece of classical sculpture - but not for long. It's a bit subversive because they're from an aesthetically overlooked group - not glamorous or angst ridden, no social authority, and not much personal history. They are in a mysterious phase of life that doesn't last long, like chrysalids... ...She's managed to catch the complexity of two young boys lives. It's a beautiful piece of work."

Tweed River Gallery

David Moses in Who is He? 2017


In the Judeo-Christian Old Testament there are two significant male leaders who left an impression on me as a young biblical scholar–King David and the Prophet Moses. In David Moses I met a man who was emotionally willing and able to go to the deepest places, which I’d only previously been to with women.

David Moses was shown in Who is He? an exhibition exploring masculinity at Contact Sheet Gallery in 2017.

Contact sheet gallery

Intimate Distance in Realising Mother 2017


Intimate Distance: A younger and older woman face each other across an empty space, suggesting strong emotions and affective encounters. The mother/daughter relationship is implied and the dark area between each pair reflects the complexity, disconnection and distance between them.  

Shown in the exhibition Realising Mother at Kudos Gallery, 2017

radio eastside interview

Finalist Olive Cotton Portraiture Award 2017



Childhood, 2017

A winter’s day in the old city of Jaffa.  My roving eye picks up a movement in the alley outside. A boy with a gun, pointing at…what? I can’t see, but he doesn’t shoot. In a split second I scan the café, note the groups of men sitting, standing, talking, watching, and slowly lift the camera up.

Finalist in the Olive Cotton Award for Photographic Portraiture, Tweed River Gallery 2017 

olive cotton portrait award

Age and Consent at Artspace 2017


Two artworks from Age and Consent 1999 were selected for the major exhibition The Public Body .02 at Artspace Sydney in 2017

Artspace Sydney

Anxious Places for Big Anxiety Festival 2017


The exhibition Anxious Places was held at the National Art School, part of the Big Anxiety Festival 2017. Ella Dreyfus also held an art workshop for the public in conjunction with the festival.

the big anxiety festival


Ella Dreyfus News is begin updated every day!

2019 News coming soon



Ella Dreyfus photographic work engages with representations of identity. She endeavors to find ways to depict and empower those who do not conform to the dominant aesthetic standards. Hovering between fine art and documentary photography, her images embrace the ordinary, striking a rich source of humanity, compassion and emotional resonance. 

Dreyfus' black and white photographs are an exploration of the human body when its condition appears to threaten the social order. At certain times of life and in certain conditions, the tenuous nature of the relationship between the body and its borders and boundaries are disturbed. A person's response to their changing physical condition may challenge their self-perception, identity and sense of mortality. 

The subjects of these photographs can be seen as abject in their inability to be symbolically contained - their physicality spills out and disturbs conventional codes of normality. The subjects have included people who are pregnant (Pregnancy Series, 1992, The Body Pregnant, 1993) fat (Fat and Ugly: written on my body, 1995), circumcised (ReMember, 1996, Covenant, 1997), scarred, aged and ill (Age and Consent, 19990, transgendered (Transman, 2001, the young male (Under Twelves, 2005) and young man (Under Twleve, Under Twenty). 

Although many of these physical conditions are common experiences, they have all suffered from a lack of visual representation. When such images are encountered they are often presented as either the objects of medical scrutiny, the butt of humour, or the focus of pity or ridicule. Dreyfus' images show respect towards and bestow dignity upon her naked subjects, all of whom consented to her work. The unseen, loss of visibility, acceptability and identity are issues that have been central to Dreyfus' work. 

Her first interactive public sculpture Weight and Sea (Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, 2005) was an outdoor performative piece which revealed a very private act in a very public place, the beach, bringing viewers into a particpatory role that involved the numerical display of their body weight. This artwork continued Dreyfus's challenging work about identity and body image. It was the first work in her Phd thesis to be exhibited. 

In 2008 she exhibited Scumbag (Stills Gallery, Sydney), the second of a trilogy of art works made for a doctoral degree. This exhibition signaled a major shift in focus from over twenty years of photographing the human body towards an exploration of language and text based works, the hand-made, installation art, humour and emotion. Following Weight and Sea, these artworks suggest traces and memories of the human body and relationships between people, rather than visualizing them directly. 

To see beyond what seems to be (Articulate, Sydney 2011) is an exhibition of prints on paper which reflect upon the way language shifts through space and transcends meaning. This series take an unexpected turn towards muted colours, tones and abstraction via an unusual combination of the hand-made object and digital technologies. 

In recent years Dreyfus' artwork has shifted from representational and photographic forms to the performative, interactive and reflective, where the complex relationsips between the private/public and the physical/emotional relams are revealed, creating new possiblilites for visually embodied experiences. 

Year By Year News


Ella was awarded an Artist-in-Residency at the Banff Centre Canada for the Banff Research in Culture Program "Distributed Intimacies". At Banff she created a new body of work "Intimate Distance" which was exhibited in the Knoll Gallery at the Banff Centre. 

Ella was a selected finalist in the inaugural Grace Cossington Smith Art Award at the GCS Gallery, Abbotsleigh School in Sydney. 

Ella gave a number of conference presentations about her work in Paris with the paper "Je ma'appelle Dreyfus, je suis juive: Sites/Sights of Trauma, Autobiography, Photography and Representation" at the Deakin University conference "The Future of the Past: Representing the Holocaust, Genocide and Mass Trauma in the 21st Century. This paper was also delivered at Sydney University and the National Art School. 

She exhibited in a number of group exhibitions in Sydney throughout the year. 


In 2013 Ella was awarded an Artist-in-Residency at the Cite International des Artes, Paris. She created a new body of work "Je m'appelle Dreyfus, je suis juive" which she is forming into a new exhibition incorporating performance, photography and objects. 

Selected works from her "Transman" series were exhibited in Paris, in the major exhibition "Cheveux Cheris - Frivolites et Trophee" at the Musee du quai Branly. 

A photographic work was selected and purchased for teh Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award at the Gold Coast City Art Gallery in Queensland. 

Ella delivered the paper "Voyeurs of Shame" at the Interdisciplinary Net Conference "Body Horror" in Sydney. 

She also delivered an Artist's Forum Lecture "Eat, Weigh, Art" at the National Art School. 


"Under Twelve Under Twenty" is a new series of male portraits, exhibited at Stills Gallery, Sydney from 29 August to 29 September, 2012. Revisiting the "Under Twelves" series of 2005, Ella is photographing the young men again as they finish school and enter the adult world. 

"I forgive you every day", a solo exhibition of photograhs and installations will be exhibited at the University Gallery, University of Newcastle 3-20 Ocotber, 2012. This will be the final exhibition for a doctoral degree in Fine Arts at the University of NSW. 

"Self Portrait in Red" is exhibited in a group photography exhibition "Kitsch and Cliche" at NG Gallery, Sydney, curated by Sandy Edwards. 

The double portrait "The Indivisible Partners" is a selected finalist in the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photographic Award at the Gold Coast City Art Gallery. This work is also purchased for their collection. 

"Blue Chip Tenant", a photographic dyptich, is exhibited in "Artwords and Artworks" a group exhibition of artists/lecturers at the National Art School, curated by Joe Frost. 

Ella is selected for the Blake Prize Touring exhibition which travels to Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania in 2012. 


"Blue Chip Tenant", a photographic dyptich is exhibited in the group show "Articulate Turns One" at Articulate Project Space. 

"To see beyond what seems to be", the third and final exhibition in the trilogy of artworks made for a PhD degree and exhibited at Articulate Project Space in Leichhardt, Sydney. 

Ella is a finalist in the Blake Prize for Religous Art with a work from "To see beyond what seems to be" and opens at the National Art School Gallery in Darlinghurst, Sydney. 

Mamazina Magazine from New York published the photograph "Portrait of Isabella" in the Spring/Summer issue. 

The portrait "Inga Hunter, Artist" was selected as a finalist in the Olive Cotton Award for Photographic Portraiture at the Tweed River Art Gallery. 

A portrait photograph was selected for the Head On Portrait Prize Slide Show at the Australian Center for Photography. 


 "The end of the bloody reds", an art installation made of Ella's collection of red found objects was exhibited at The Red Rattler Theatre in Marrickville, Sydney. 

Ella visited New York City to speak at the annual Mamapalooza Conference. She gave two conference presentations "Presence, Absence and Silence" and a slide show of her photographic history. 

Mamazina Magazine from New York publish a photograph from "The Body Pregnant" in the Fall/Winter issue. 

"Child photographer or child pornographer" was a session of the Head On Photo Festival Seminar at the National Art School. The session was convened by Dreyfus with a presentation about her series on young boys "Under Twelves". 

Dr Maree Stenglin and Ella gave a joint presentation at the International Conference on Multi-Modality at the University of Technology, Sydney. The paper was titled "Behind Closed Doors, giving space to the world of silence. 

Dr Jacqueline Millner published a chapter on the exhibition "Age and Consent" in the book "Conceptual Beauty", published by Artspace, Sydney 

Ella's photography cited in Anne Marsh's book "Look: Australian Contemporary Photograhy since 1980", published by Macmillan 


Selected works from "Transman" were invited to be exhibited in the annual Trans-lives exhibition at the University of Montana in Missoula Montana. Transman was also featured on the website "On the Issues", a feminist magazine published in New York. 

Sydney University linguist Dr Maree Stenglin wrote about "Scumbag" in her chapter "Space and communication in the museum: exploring the nexus" in "The Routledge Handbook of Multimodal Analysis" 

Ella gave an international conference presentation "Punishing Silence" at the Interdisiplinary.Net conference "Violence and the contexts of hostility" in Budapest, Hungary. 


"Scumbag", a major solo exhibition was a photographic and fabric installation, exhibited at Stills Gallery in April 2008. It was the second work in her PhD thesis at the University of NSW, to be exhibited. 

A selection of the "Scumbag" photographs were short listed as a finalist in the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize at Monash Gallery of Art. 


"Under Twelves No 5" was a finalist in the 2007 Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award at the Gold Coast City Art Gallery. 

"JP and Jacqueline's Girl" was a finalist in the 2007 Olive Cotton Award for Photographic Portraiture at the Tweed River Art Gallery in Murwillumbah. 


"David Moses" was awarded a commendation in the 2006 Olive Cotton Award for Photographic Portraiture at the Tweed River Art Gallery in Murwillumbah. 

"Scumbag No 2" was a finalist in the 2006 Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award at the Gold Coast City Art Gallery. 

"Laura's Boy" was a finalist in the 2006 Head On Alternative Portrait Award at the Australian Photographer's Gallery in Sydney. 


"The Lads: Nadz and Dax" was the WINNER of the 2005 inaugual Olive Cotton Award for Photographic Portraiture at the Tweed River Art Gallery in Murwillumbah.

"Weight and Sea" was exhibited in the 2005 Sculpture by the Sea exhibition at Tamarama Beach, Sydney.