2024 National Art School Fellows revealed

Karla Dickens and Euan Macleod have been honoured by NAS.

Words: Erin Irwin

Described as “the fine art school’s most significant honour”, the 2024 National Art School Fellowship has been awarded to artists Karla Dickens and Euan Macleod. The Fellowship seeks to recognise individuals from many walks of life that have provided a significant contribution to Australia’s art world, conferred yearly by the National Art School (NAS), Sydney.

Previous winners include artists Elisabeth Cummings OAM, Margaret Olley AO AC, Chris O’Doherty aka Reg Mombassa, Thancoupie Gloria Fletcher James AO, Fiona Foley AO and Ken Unsworth AM, with last year’s Fellowship going to Mike Parr and Joan Ross.

A proud Wiradjuri woman of Irish and German descent, Lismore-based Dickens graduated from NAS in 2000, and has since undertaken an impressive multidisciplinary practice. Her works embrace her own experiences, as well as environmental issues and social injustice, utilising a broad array of materials and techniques to tackle complex visual narratives.

“Back in 1991 I received a notification of my acceptance to study at the National Art School”, says Dickens, “on entering the gates I had no idea the journey I would embark upon”. “Without my ancestors behind me, the Wirdajuri warriors, the wild Irish rebels and the tough Germans I would never have had the courage and strength to live as an artist. Thank you, NAS, for nurturing artists and acknowledging their creative efforts”.

New Zealand-born artist Macleod relocated to Sydney in 1981, and has since undertaken a career spanning over 40 years and 50 solo shows. Focusing on the landscape as it is inhabited by symbolic figures, his expressive works are psychologically complex and visually striking. The Fellowship joins other impressive achievements including his 1999 Archibald prize win.

Of the Fellowship, Macleod states that “to join a group that includes some of the artists I most admire and respect is a huge acknowledgment for me as a painter. Having had the privilege of teaching at NAS for nearly ten years, I have firsthand knowledge of what an inspiring and positive environment it is for anyone considering a life as a visual artist”.

The National Art School’s Director and CEO Steven Alderton commented that “Both Dickens’ and Macleod’s life and work have an enduring impact on the arts in Australia, and continue to inspire the students at the National Art School”.

This article was posted 31 May 2024.

Image: Artists Karla Dickens and Euan Macleod with Steven Alderton. Photo: Nichole Anderson. Courtesy: the National Art School, Sydney.

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