How we supported the visual arts in 2019

February 4, 2020

Throughout the last calendar year, the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund provided valuable support to Australia’s visual arts sector.

Grants were awarded to individual artists to create new work and to pursue career and professional development opportunities, and to organisations to facilitate professional mentorships, residencies (both at home and abroad), skills development and exhibition outcomes. In addition, one life-changing Fellowship was awarded to an established visual artist to create a significant new work.

The $80,000 Fellowship for a Visual Artist was awarded to Western Australian artist, Danielle Freakley. Freakley plans to create a virtual reality piece called ‘Imagine Your Friends’, widely questioning imaginary friend function throughout history and in everyday life. This will become a solo exhibition at performance space HERE Art Centre in New York.

Two art galleries were among the funding recipients announced in December 2019:

  • Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) received $15,300 for its 2020 Open Studio program, which will provide onsite residencies to three mid-career Australian artists. Grace Lillian Lee (remote QLD), Madeline Kelly (regional NSW) and Abdul Abdullah (metropolitan NSW) will each conduct practice-based research at QAGOMA, engaging with audiences both onsite and online through tutorial-based activities, blog posts, video interviews, and public events.
  • Institute of Modern Art (IMA) received $15,000 for Creolization, an exhibition, publication and live symposium to be curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Asad Raza. Creolization will engage a First Nations curator and five Australian artists to show new work at the IMA. The exhibition will feature visual artworks and environments, documentary film and songs, dramaturgical structures and archival material; the accompanying symposium will feature choreographic and discursive events.

Several individual artists also received Create Grants (worth $10,000) and Ignite Grants* (worth $5,000):

  • Environmental artist Debbie Symons received a Create grant for her project ‘Sing’. 50 handwoven pendant nests will be fitted with sensor-activated miniature speakers, which will play pre-recorded bird songs as they are suspended from the gallery ceiling.
  • Artist Abdul Abdullah received a Create grant for ‘Hierarchies’. This project will use reprogrammed surveillance technologies to co-opt a gallery into a screening room, with audiences able to observe their real-time digital profiling on large display monitors in the space.
  • Sydney video installation artist and sculptor Lisa Sammut received an Ignite grant for an eight-week structured studio program at Heima Art Residency (Iceland); a one-week intensive mentorship in video and installation art with Turner-prize winning artist Laure Prouvost (France); and a period of research at the Venice Biennale (Italy).
  • Artist Thom Roberts received an Ignite grant to undertake a structured residency at Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio (Cesana, Italy), an Italian experiential theatre company. He will be mentored in new modes of storytelling – specifically using virtual reality (VR) technology – by Socìetas co-founder Chiara Giudi, as well as Scott Wright, Artistic Director of Erth Visual and Physical Theatre.

Our members commit 1.5% of revenue every year for grants like these to enhance the profile of Australian writers and visual artists and to support our dynamic visual arts, writing and publishing sectors. In doing so, they help ensure that creators are better supported and are paid appropriately for their work.

For more information, visit the Cultural Fund page on our website.

* As many funding bodies are offering opportunities for individual professional development, the Cultural Fund’s Ignite Grants will not be offered in 2020.

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