It’s that time of year again when the Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship is announced. It’s a sweet deal – each artist receives twelve months living allowance of US$30,000 (approximately $40,000 in Aussie dollars) as well as travel expenses and the cost of institutional study fees, usually in excess of $30,000 a year at leading international art schools. In past years, artists including Robyn Stacey, ADS Donaldson, Matthys Gerber, Deborah Paauwe, Kathy Temin, John Spiteri, Matthieu Gallois, Shaun Gladwell, Guy Benfield, Callum Morton, TV Moore and Mikala Dwyer have jetted off to international fame.
This year’s winners, we are pleased to advise you, are Christine Aerfeldt and Andrew Best from South Australia; Pia Borg from Victoria; Claudia Chaseling from the ACT and collaborative artists Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy from NSW. The official press release did not reveal whether Healy and Cordiero will receive two prizes or just one between them, but either way, it’s lovely to see a scholarship given out to such deserving recipients. The judges for the prize were Professor Kay Lawrence, head of the South Australian School of Art, John Barbour, South Australian artist and a senior lecturer at the School of Art, and [it says here] “leadingTasmanian and European-based” painter, Megan Walch.
Ross Wolfe who is the director of the Samtsag Scholarship program is pleased:
Commenting on this year’s awards, Samstag director Ross Wolfe notes that, “collectively, the 2006 Samstag artists exemplify the diversity which is now such a feature of the international artworld; they are painters, installationists, sculptors, collaborators, filmmakers and photographers”. Wolfe takes considerable pleasure in the growing prominence of the Samstag alumni, suggesting that, “the secret is in the diversity of practices. From Samstag’s beginnings in 1992”, he says, “the only discernible bias in our selection of artists has been an inclination to reward ‘other voices’ and to cherish ‘the thousand flowers’. We saw the potential, arrived early (usually first) and feel genuine pleasure at their subsequent success”.