The inaugural ART 150 Fellowship winner – and a raft of new art prizes
By Paul Dalgarno
The inaugural ART 150 Fellowship was awarded last night to graduating Master of Contemporary Art (MCA) student Aya Hamamoto, as one of several new prizes and scholarships for graduating visual art students at the Victorian College of the Arts.
Hamamoto, from Japan, who is currently exhibiting as part of the VCA Art Masters Exhibition, was awarded $10,000 in a presentation on the VCA’s Southbank Campus.
The ART 150 Fellowship was established in the wake of this year’s 9X5 NOW show, which saw more than 350 staff and alumni of VCA Art donate original artworks for a landmark exhibition at the Margaret Lawrence Gallery, with proceeds from sales going towards an annual Fellowship for a graduating undergraduate or Masters visual art student.
“I want to express gratitude to the 350 artists who have contributed to this award, which will help me to develop my arts practice next year and in the future,” said Hamamoto. “It’s a great honour to have received this award from so many different artists from across the VCA.”
Senior Lecturer in Visual Art Stephen Haley earlier this year described Hamamoto’s 2014 work Contemporary Documentation of Repetition – a blend of images, video and performance art commemorating the sudden and untimely death of Hamamoto’s sister – as “immersive, stately, beautiful, heart-wrenching and simply stunning,” and “the most emotionally-affecting artwork I have seen in years, and possibly ever”.
Dr Elizabeth Gower, who curated 9X5 NOW, said the Fellowship would continue to hold a particular resonance for emerging artists.
“The special thing about this Fellowship is that it’s presented by all the alumni who donated works to 9X5 NOW,” she said. “It’s a unique and generous gift from one generation of artists to those now following in their footsteps.”
Director of the VCA Professor Jon Cattapan, who presented the awards, described the ART 150 Fellowship as a “great new addition to our prizes”.
“For someone working full-time, $10,000 may not seem like a huge amount of money but for an emerging artist at the start of their career it can mean the difference between being able to continue and having to walk away.”
Professor Cattapan thanked donors behind the continuing VCA Art awards and new awards during the presentation. Among the new prizes is the Wingate Student Fellowship, worth $9,000, which was awarded to graduating Master of Fine Art (MFA) student and course valedictorian Will Heathcote.
Bachelor of Fine Arts graduating student Freya Porges won the newly-established Tatana Mihulka Art Encouragement Award, created in memory of Tatana Mihulka. The award, worth $2,000, is offered to a student whose work challenges conventional society or focuses on change through painting or sculpture.
Two of the new awards went to graduating MFA student Katie West, an interdisciplinary artist exploring the renewal of human connections with and within the natural environment, who is also showing as part of the VCA Art Masters Exhibition
The Falls Creek Resort Indigenous Art Award, in addition to a cash prize of $1,000, will see West take up a six-week residency at Falls Creek Resort next year, while the Dominik Mersch Gallery Award will fund and provide mentorship for an all-expenses-paid solo exhibition at the Sydney gallery in 2018.
West, a Yindjibarndi woman originally from Noongar Booja (Perth and surrounding areas) in Western Australia, said she felt “quite shocked” to be recognised with the two awards. “My work’s pretty minimal and sensitive so I didn’t really expect to do so well,” she said. “I’ve never been to Falls Creek but I do a lot of natural dyeing so it does make sense to be on country, collecting materials and working there. And winning the Dominik Mersch Gallery Award is just amazing. To be mentored ahead of mounting a solo exhibition is a huge deal.”
Gallery owner Dominik Mersch, who selected West’s work and attended last night’s awards ceremony, said the award provided a “great opportunity for a young artist”.
“I’m a very emotional guy,” he said. “When work by an artist touches me I get goosebumps and Katie’s work touched me on lots of different levels. It also really sits well with my stable of artists, many of whom, like Katie, deal with nature and the environment.”
The new Hamilton Art Gallery Exhibition Award, which will see three graduating VCA Art students exhibit at the gallery in 2018, was presented to Ali McCann, Phebe Parisia and Samuel Szwarcbord, and the winner of the new Peter Redlich Memorial Art Prize, worth $10,000, will be announced on Wednesday.
Update, 7 December: The Peter Redlich Memorial Art Prize was won by MFA graduating student Shane Nicholas on 6 December, 2017.
Banner image: Documentation of Repetition (2014) by Aya Hamamoto. Image courtesy of the artist.
- The VCA Art Masters Exhibition runs until 10 December 2017.
- Find our more about Visual Art at the VCA.
- Sign up for the Faculty of VCA & MCM’s free monthly enews
The full list of visual art prize winners for 2017 is below.
MASTER OF FINE ARTS (VISUAL ART) AWARDS 2017
ART 150 Fellowship: Aya Hamamoto
Domink Mersch Gallery Award: Katie West
Falls Creek Resort Indigenous Art Award: Katie West
Fiona Myer Award: Clara Gladstone
Fiona Myer Award: Lucia Rossi
Fiona Myer Award: Octora
Fiona Myer Award: Will Heathcote
Fiona Myer Berlin Studio Residency: Archie Barry
Fiona Myer Internship: Jeremy Eaton
Galloway Lawson Prize: Farnaz Dadfar
gogo Art Series Encouragement Award: Ali McCann
Hamillton Gallery 2018 Exhibition: Ali McCann
Hamillton Gallery 2018 Exhibition: Phebe Parisia
Hamillton Gallery 2018 Exhibition: Samuel Szwarcbord
Lionel Gell Foundation Masters Award: ChaoHui Xie
The Peter Redlich Memorial Art Prize: Shane Nicholas
National Gallery of Victoria Women’s Association Award: Katie Sfetkedis
National Gallery of Victoria Women’s Association Award: Samuel Szwarcbord
National Gallery of Victoria Women’s Association Award: Siying Zhou
National Gallery of Victoria Women’s Association Award: Vivian Cooper Smith
The Athenaeum Club Visual Arts Research: Siri Hayes
The Chin Chin Wall of Art Encouragement Award: Samuel Szwarcbord
Ursula Hoff Institute Inc. Drawing Award: Phebe Parisia
Wingate Fellowship: Will Heathcote
BACHELOR OF FINE ARTS (VISUAL ARTS) AWARDS 2017
Bus Project Awards: Matilda Davis
Chin Chin Wall of Art Exhibition: Claudia Gleave
Dr David Rosenthal Award: Caitlin O’Grady
Evans Family Award for Photography: Nick Archer
Fiona Myer Award (Honours): Ashley Perry & Sienna Van Rossum
Fiona Myer Award (Drawing & Printmedia): Ben Stephens & Anatol Pitt
Fiona Myer Award (Painting): Casey Jeffery & Jacqueline Clare Smith
Fiona Myer Award (Photography): Guy Grabowsky & Nick James Archer
Fiona Myer Award (Sculpture & Spatial Practice): Yan Yang & Nicola Lewis
Garry Grossbard Drawing Prize: Evita Siketa
gogo Art Series Award: Jana Moser
Irene Sutton Award: Elias Arce Toner
Lionel Gell Foundation Award: Jana Moser
LON Gallery Award: Georgie North
Lowensteins Arts Management Prize: Olga Bennett
Majlis Encouragement Award (Drawing & Printmedia): David Lowe & Rebecca Riggs
Majlis Encouragement Award (Painting): Georgie North & Miles Davis
Majlis Encouragement Award (Sculpture & Spatial Practice): Kate McGain & Dominic Sargent
Majlis Encouragement Award (Photography): Liam Denny & Dustin Davies
Majlis Encouragement Award (Honours): Marlee McMahon & Matt Bailey
Mt Buller Residency: Guy Grabowsky
National Gallery of Victoria Women’s Association Awards (Honours): Ellen Son
National Gallery of Victoria Women’s Association Awards (Photography): Esther Brierly & David Borg
National Gallery of Victoria Women’s Association Awards (Painting): Lauren Brown & Tia Ansell
National Gallery of Victoria Women’s Association Awards (Drawing and Printmedia): Sunny He, Matilda Davis & Madeline Nibali
National Gallery of Victoria Women’s Association Awards (Sculpture & Spatial Practice): Yuval Rosinger
NAVA Ignition Membership: Katrina Dobbs
Orloff Family Charitable Trust Award (Sculpture & Spatial Practice): Megan Kennedy
Orloff Family Charitable Trust Award (Honours): Mel Dixon
Perrin Sculpture Foundry Award: Samuel Soames
Rob Ramage Sculpture Award: Maggie Clare
Rodger Davies Award: Eric Jong
Rosemary Ricker Award: Jason Willers
Stella Dilger Encouragement Award: Jacquelin Owers-Gayst
Tatana Mihulka Art Encouragement Award: Freya Porges
The Blair Trethowan TCB Art Inc. Award: Freya Porges
The Plumm Wine Glass Award: Claire Mercer
The Stoner Award: Nicola Lewis
The Sydney Canvas Company Prize for Painting: Nicholas Mullaly
Tolarno Hotel VCA Annual Art Award: Harry Hughes
Trocardero – Gallery 2 Award: Yan Yang
Trocardero – Nooky Award: Benjamin Baker
Ursula Hoff Institute Inc Drawing Award (Painting): Anneke Wood
Ursula Hoff Institute Inc Drawing Award (Drawing & Printmedia): Isabella Millner-Cretney
West Space Noticeboard Award: Benjamin Baker
William Ballantyne Memorial Award: Trent Crawford