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Neha Kale is a widely-published writer. She works in many forms including criticism, journalism, essay and other nonfiction. For more than a decade, her writing on art, contemporary culture and society has appeared frequently in international and Australian publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, ArtReview, Vogue, Elephant, VICE, The Guardian, Griffith Review, Art Guide Australia, SBS, Kill Your Darlings, Gourmet Traveller, Running Dog, i-D, Wonderground, BBC and more.

She currently writes a fortnightly column called ‘The Influence’, interviewing cultural figures about the art that has informed their lives for The Saturday Paper, one of Australia’s most respected weekly newspapers.

From 2015 to 2018, she edited VAULT, an influential print quarterly that champions art, visual culture and critical conversations from Australia and around the world and served as the magazine’s editor-at-large until late 2019. Before this, she was a columnist for SBS, where she wrote about gender, race and the politics of everyday life and regularly contributed columns to The Sydney Morning Herald’s Daily Life.

In 2022, Neha was chosen by the Australia Council, alongside four industry leaders, to lead a national group of delegates to rethink colonial hierarchies and deepen Australia’s engagement with the international art world as part of Australia at the Venice Biennale.

She has also worked with institutions, brands and organisations – such as the Sydney Opera House, Carriageworks, the Museum of Australian Democracy, GuardianLabs and PwC – in her capacity as a writer, editor and editorial director.

Neha has given lectures and moderated panels at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the University of New South Wales, the Heide Museum of Modern Art and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. She has spoken about her work at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, Emerging Writers Festival and Noted Festival, facilitated workshops for Writers’ Victoria and served as a judge for The Walkley Foundation and the University of Sydney’s David Harold Tribe Sculpture Award.

In 2021, her writing was highly commended in the Liminal and Pantera Press Nonfiction Prize. She was awarded a Faber Academy Scholarship for Creative Nonfiction in 2023.

Neha was born in Mumbai, India and has lived in Melbourne/Naarm and London. She grew up in Perth/Boorloo where she studied writing and cultural studies at Curtin University, graduating with First Class Honours.

These days, she lives and works on unceded Gadigal land in Sydney, Australia.  


Features, reportage

Curtain Call (Vogue, 2022)
A modern-day Moulin Rouge

Spirited Away (Spectrum, 2021)
On the unerring faith of Hilma af Klint

Staging a Revolution (Spectrum, 2021)
Lin-Manuel Miranda brings his virtuosic Hamilton to Sydney

Regeneration Cycles (Spectrum, 2021)
The National remakes memories through art

Notes from the Near Future (Art Guide Australia, 2020)
Imagining a utopian aesthetic

How Seven Years in Detention Led Farhad Bandesh to Laura Jean (The Sydney Morning Herald, 2020)
On music as balm and bridge

Stories of Home and Homeland (The Guardian, 2020)
Mapping immigrant journeys

The Reality Facing Female International Students After Abuse (SBS, 2019)
How universities fail vulnerable women

Is There Such a Thing as the Clothing Gap? (SBS, 2019)
The price of looking “professional”

Women and Ageing: “I’ve developed the courage to live my own truth” (The Guardian, 2018)
The uncharted freedom of getting older

Apartheid in Focus (Spectrum, 2018)
The gaze of South African photography great, David Goldblatt

Childcare Workers’ Strike (The Guardian, 2018)
On the gross devaluation of women’s work

Welcome to Sydney’s Last Ladies-Only Ocean Baths (VICE, 2017)
A refuge by the sea

Is it Time to Rethink the Australian Dream? (SBS, 2017)
Unravelling the cult of property ownership

Can Motherhood Make You a Better Artist?  (SBS, 2016)
Where art and life intersect

Why We Should Embrace Solitude (SBS, 2016)
The case for more me time

Profiles, portraits, conversations

Sampa the Great (Spectrum, 2021)
A musician finally comes home  

Lindy Lee, (ArtReview, 2021)
How to envision the cosmos

Maria Fernanda Cardoso, (The Saturday Paper, 2021)
Unearthing the art in nature

Jose Roca (The Saturday Paper, 2021)
The Sydney Biennale curator’s radical vision

Michael Williams (Openbook, 2021)
A life in reading

Lisa Reihana (ABC Arts, 2020)
The acclaimed Maori artist meets Australia’s first woman pirate

Aisha Dee (The Guardian, 2020)
Playing against type with the star of The Bold Type

Amala Groom (The Saturday Paper, 2020)
The Wiradjuri conceptual artist lays colonial ghosts to rest

Rosemary Laing (VAULT, 2020)
The Australian image-maker’s electric landscapes

Arthur Jafa (Spectrum, 2019)
An encounter with the art star who gives Blackness a new lexicon

Karen O (The Sydney Morning Herald, 2019)
Talking sonic freedom with the force behind The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Bat for Lashes (The Sydney Morning Herald, 2019)
Natasha Khan and the promise of unseen worlds

Ziggy Ramo (The Sydney Morning Herald, 2020)
Truth-telling on the nation’s greatest stage

Michael Armitage (The Saturday Paper, 2019)
The Kenyan artist’s rapturous visions in paint

Teju Cole (VAULT, 2018)
Skyping with the laser-sharp photographer and critic

Nick Cave (VAULT, 2017)
“Is there racism in heaven?”

Grayson Perry (VAULT, 2016)
A Turner-winning artist’s psychic spills

Lisa Yuskavage (VAULT, 2016)
Reinventing the female nude

Essays, other nonfiction

Looking for Carol Jerrems (Running Dog, 2022)
An A-Z of visual intimacy

Naming Rights (The Saturday Paper, 2021)
The all-woman exhibition in the age of #Metoo

What High School Debating Tells Us About Power (Kill Your Darlings, 2021)
Teenage misogyny and the curse of Ancient Greece

Blood Food (Counter, 2020)
What colonial violence tastes like

In Isolation with Neha Kale (Dining in Place, 2020)
The secret life of spices

Class Ceilings (Art Guide Australia, 2020)
On classism in the artworld

Wu Tsang’s Into A Space of Love (Running Dog, 2019)
The nightclub as idea

Suburban Dreaming (Griffith Review, 2018)
Immigrant aspiration at freeway’s end

In Praise of ‘Nineties Mallrat Summers (VICE, 2017)
The anodyne pleasure of “going to the shops”

Columns, criticism, reviews

Nalini Malani’s Gamepieces (ArtReview, 2023)
Shadowboxing with a singular contemporary artist

No Document (Mascara Review, 2021)
The city as elegy

Wansolwara at UNSW Galleries (ArtReview, 2020)
Rerouting the art of the Great Ocean

Japan Supernatural at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (The Saturday Paper, 2019)
In the realm of Japanese ghosts

Why it’s Dangerous to Blame Immigrants for the Housing Crisis (SBS, 2017)
On twisted rhetoric and the barriers to buying a house

Choosing Experiences Over Things Doesn’t Make you Morally Superior (Daily Life, 2016)
When capitalism morphs without notice

Is Our Obsession with Ethnic Eating a Sign of Cultural Progress? (SBS, 2016)
The cult of culinary voyeurism

The Airbnb Bias: When Racism Happens in Unexpected Places (Daily Life, 2016)
On the conservatism of the “sharing economy”

The Myth of Starving Artist Is Starving Us of the Art We Need (Daily Life, 2016)
Who does it serve when art romanticises poverty?

The Underrated Magic of Walking (SBS, 2017)
Taking life one pavement at a time

What If Our Cities Paid Tribute to Great Women? (SBS, 2016)
How urbanism erased female legacies

PRESS (selected)

Liminal Magazine, Interview #190, Neha Kale, September 2021
Special Guest, Jacky Winter Gives You the Business Podcast, May 2019
The Freelancers’ Year, Q&A with Neha Kale, August 2018
The Wheeler Centre, Working with Words: Neha Kale, August 2017
ABC Radio National, Drive, My Feed, July 2017

Image credit: Laura Mangen

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