Ken Unsworth was born in Melbourne in 1931. He studied at the University of Melbourne, RMIT, Melbourne Teachers College and the National Art School, Sydney.
He has held several teaching positions including Lecturer in Sculpture at Sydney College of Advanced Education and has had numerous solo exhibitions in Australia and overseas, including a major survey exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1998. He is also represented internationally in private and public collections.
His works have been included in the Mildura Sculpture Triennial 1973 and 1978; the Australian Sculpture Triennial, Melbourne 1981, 1984 and 1993; Australian Perspecta, Sydney 1981, 1985, 1987 and 1988; the Biennale of Sydney 1976, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1990 and 2000.
He has also participated in major international exhibitions including the Paris Biennale 1985; Magiciens de la Terre, Paris 1989 and the Biennale of Istanbul, Turkey 1995. In 1978 he represented Australia at the Venice Biennale.
Unsworth has received commissions, prizes, awards and residencies including the Australian/American Education Fellowship in 1971; DAAD Berliner Künstler Program in 1987; Australian Creative Fellowship (Keating) in 1989; Japan Foundation grant 1991; Doctor of Letters Honoris causa University of NSW 2004; Doctor of Visual Art Honoris Causa University of Sydney 2008; Emeritus Award Australia Council 2009.
Commissions include Nike for the Public Art Collection in Wollongong 1980, Vietnam Memorial in Canberra 1990 and Harlequin Shuttle for Scenic World in 2014.
“Ken works intuitively with other artists and their art forms. He has the ability to sense the ‘truth’ of others, especially when it comes to creative work, and possible collaborations. Hence the great relationship with the Australian Dance Artists:
Ken and ADA together recognize that collectively, they are mutually compatible, share similar sensibilities, and can produce uniquely different performance art together.”