Leyla Stevens (b.1982) is an Australian-Balinese artist who works within a lens-based practice. Her work contributes to expanded documentary genres in Australian video art and explores the reparative potential of artmaking framed within issues of political and social justice. Her practice is informed by her ongoing interest in ritualised places, archives, cultural geographies and performance lineages. As a research-led artist, Stevens is guided by collaborative engagements with place and communities, with the aim of recuperating counter-histories within dominant narratives. In recent work, she has focused on the presence of matrilineal histories within Bali’s art canon, and the shifting meaning of ancestral objects and artworks as they migrate through Eurocentric collection practices.
In 2023, Stevens presented her first solo exhibition in Indonesia, Sang gunung menyerahkan jejaknya ke laut / The mountain gives way to the sea at Cush Cush Gallery in Bali. She was awarded the 66th Blake Art Prize for her film Kidung, which engages with Bali’s silenced histories of political violence. Her immersive, multi-channel video installations have been exhibited in national and international group exhibitions, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney; TarraWarra Museum, Healesville, Victoria; UQ Art Museum, Brisbane; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Artspace, Sydney; West Space, Melbourne; Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney; Guangdong Times Museum, Quangzhou, China; Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea; and 17th Jogja Biennale, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Stevens also works collaboratively as a member of Woven Kolektif, an artist group exploring diasporic connections to Indonesia.