Stuff Jul 24, 2006 No Comments

Funding bodies are great. They give artists money to realise their dreams, to travel the world and raise their work to new levels of professionalism. The National Association of The Visual Arts [that’s NAVA to most people] last Thursday announced the lucky winners of the Freedman Travel Scholarships. The winners were Mimi Tong, Lori Kirk, James Hancock, Astra Howard and Jade Boyd. Australia likes to reward its younger artists with the opportunity to get out of the country and see how the rest of the world treats its artists and, hopefully, get inspired while they’re away. The Freedman Travel Scholarship is $5000 and although that’s not a huge amount of money to travel and live on, it’s surely better than nothing. Reading through NAVA’s press release, you also get an insight into what young artists are doing and what they hope to achieve.

Mimi Tong, it says, whose work “often crosses the divide between painting, architecture and traditional paper-folding” is participating in the artist-in-residence program at Red Gate in Beijing and will “investigate local construction techniques such as the use of bamboo scaffolding” and “further her investigation of contemporary Chinese urban environments.” Hopefully that investigation will not involve a mini-spy camera. Another Sydney-based artist is James Hancock who will be winging his way to Old Vienna is hoping to “develop his city-based artworks and curatorial projects. ‘My fascination with what lies beneath the surface of the urban environment often leads me to collect pieces of the city to become a part of my artistic expression’.”

Astra Howard’s work is also based in the “urban environment”, but rather than the super clean, hyper-efficiency of Vienna, she’ll be heading off to the slower paced, perhaps not as sparkling Delhi. While there she will work as part of the Cybermohalla project which “undertakes visual arts and social work with the slum communities of Delhi.” With the money from the Scholarship, Howard “will extend upon previous research investigations into how city residents manipulate public spaces in order to survive. For the duration of her project, Astra will be a resident at the established artist community of Sankriti Kendra and work with mentors at Sarai: New Media Initiative.”

The other two artists – Jade Boyd from Tweed Heads and Lori Kirk from Melbourne – both have interesting travel plans for places not usually visited by artists. Boyd is travelling to Norway, Iceland, Germany and Romania where she will “continue investigating the supernatural landscape” and “research Nordic/Scandinavian mythological landscapes and areas important to Romantic history, with a journey to the site of the film set for Werner Herzog’s 1979 film, Nosferatu.” Kirk, meanwhile has a far more ambitious project taking her to Kyrgyzstan:

“Lori Kirk from Melbourne will join with an artist from Kyrgyzstan to erect a traditional yurt and adorn the surrounding area with agapanthus flower sculptures and other Australian popular culture icons, to create a “hybrid mix of the traditional and foreign”. The Scholarship will enable the collaborative project, Home Extension, to be developed by Lori and Kyrgyzstan artist Shaarbek Amankul (who was represented at the 2005 Venice Biennale) to be installed in the mountains of Bishkek in 2007.”

A yurt, recently.

In the context of the above, it’s hard to believe that artists could once just say to a funding body, “hey, chumbo, give me some money so I might paint my glorious pictures”, or if in a traveling frame of mind, “Hey, I’m off to Italy in spring.” But indeed it was was once possible. These excerpts from a 1973 Australia Council press release explains who got what, and most interestingly, what for:

Grants to artists
Press statement no. 150, 23 November 1973
List of grants

Sydney Richard Ball (Painter), NSW. Assistance with materials and equipment for painting and printmaking and construction of studio facilities. $5000

Alan John Oldfield (Painter), NSW. Assistance with costs for tour of Italy to study 16th and early 17th Century painters. $2500

Grant Leighton Mumford (Photographer), NSW. Assistance with fares and living expenses for 12 months study and photographic tour of U.S.A. $5000

Anthony John Coleing (Sculptor), NSW. Assistance to make sculpture, enlarge studio space and with fares for study tour of Japan, U.S.A. and Mexico. $2500

Richard John Watkins (Painter), NSW. Assistance with fares and expenses for study and painting tour of U.S.A., U.K. and Europe. $5000

Guy Wilkie Warren (Painter), NSW. Assistance to continue investigation into certain aspects of painting. $5000

Alexander Danko (Sculptor), NSW. Assistance with materials and equipment for series of sculptures and multimedia projects and assistance with fares and expenses for 12 months study at the California Institute of Arts. $2000

Michael Johnson (Painter), NSW. To continue painting in New York, and to return with an exhibition of paintings. $5000

Peter Allen Powditch (Painter), NSW. Assistance with fares and living expenses to set up studio in New York for 12 months and return through Europe for study tour of major galleries. $7500

David Aspden (Painter), NSW. Assistance to obtain more adequate studio space, materials and equipment for painting and silk-screening and provision to establish representative set of colour slides. $5000

Geoffrey William Prosser Lowe (Painter), Tasmania. Assistance to enable full-time devotion to a series of paintings on the relationship between the human being in basic dilemma with his physical reflections and nature. $5000

Miriam Helen Stannage (Painter), W.A. Assistance with purchase of art materials and equipment for 12 months painting and assistance with transport costs to send paintings to galleries in the Eastern states. $700

George Baldessin (Sculptor), Victoria. Assistance to complete purchase of printing press. $2500

Michael Challis Brown (Painter), Victoria. Assistance to further develop his painting. $5000

Frederick Harold Cress (Painter), Victoria. Assistance to full-time devotion to painting. $5000

Dale Keith Hickey (Painter), Victoria. Assistance to devote full time to painting. $5000

Allan Adam Mittleman (Lithographer), Victoria. Assistance to purchase etching lithe press. $1500.

Andrew John Sibley (Painter), Victoria. Assistance to continue painting. $1000

Peter Julian Tyndall (Silk-Screen Printer), Victoria. Assistance for studio equipment. $2000

Kenneth Ronald Whisson (Painter), Victoria. Assistance to be able to paint full-time. $5000

Andrew Frost

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.