Words: Charlotte Middleton
The 23rd Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship has been awarded to five young Australian painters aged between 20 and 30 years, who each receive $10,000 and a two-week residency at Shark Island Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales, in 2022.
Guest artist judge Abdul Abdullah whittled down 201 original entries to 12 finalists and five scholarship recipients: Mia Boe (age 24, VIC), Emma Rani Hodges (age 25, ACT), Shannon McCulloch (age 26, VIC), Jacquie Meng (age 23, ACT), and Thea Anamara Perkins (age 29, NSW).
“There were so many entrants that could have been finalists, yet I found myself drawn to artworks that I personally found the most exciting,” said Abdullah.
“My finalist and recipient selections all do something interesting with paint and use it to communicate an idea bigger than the sum of its parts. I am excited to see what work the finalists and recipients go on to produce.”
Recipient artworks are now on display at the Brett Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills, along with works by scholarship finalists Ashlee Becks (QLD), Henry Curchod (NSW), Sarah Drinan (VIC), Rosemary Lee (NSW), Owen Moyo (NSW), Julia Trybala (VIC) and Alex Xerri (NSW).
This is the second year that the Brett Whiteley Foundation has extended the scholarship from one artist to five artists and increased the value of the scholarship from $40,000 for an individual artist to $50,000 shared between five artists.
The residency will take place from Monday 21 March to Monday 4 April 2022, with the five recipients living and working alongside one another to develop new bodies of work. The artists will also take part in a mentoring session with Archibald Prize-winning artist and former Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship winner Ben Quilty, along with visits by other prominent industry figures including Abdul Abdullah.
“As a First Nations woman I am honoured to be a recipient of this scholarship, an opportunity that continues the innovative spirit of Whiteley’s artistic legacy,” said Thea Anamara Perkins, the most senior of the recipients. “I look forward to being connected with peers and what will be generated from this space.”
Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand said that following the success of the scholarship’s new format, he expects this year’s recipients will find the two-week residency equally as inspiring and rewarding as did last year’s recipients.
“Situated in the beautiful Australian bushland of Kangaroo Valley, with thanks to Shark Island Institute, the residency is an intimate setting for the artists to enjoy extended dialogue with their peers and experts from the artistic community, while advancing their painting practice,” Brand said.
The Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship was established by Beryl Whiteley (1917–2010), in memory of her son Brett Whiteley, allocating funds to encourage excellence in painting and to offer young artists the same career opportunities as were afforded to her son.
Displaying 14 works in total, Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship 2021 exhibition is free and open to the public until 16 January 2022.
This article was originally published 9 December 2021.
Image: Installation view, Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship 2021 exhibition at the Brett Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills, Sydney.
Featured image: Jacquie Meng, ‘In my room there are no rules, the window breathes fire and the floor dreams of water’, 2021. Oil on canvas, 75 x 122cm. Courtesy: the artist.