Natasha Walsh Wins 2018 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship
By Dennis MAO
On September 6, the Art Gallery of New South Wales announced Sydney-based artist Natasha Walsh as the winner of the 2018 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship. Established by Beryl Whiteley in 1999 to commemorate the influence that international travel once had on her son, artist Brett Whiteley, the Scholarship is awarded annually to an Australian painter aged between 20 and 30. As part of the Scholarship, Walsh will receive a three-month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, along with an AUD 40,000 (USD 29,000) cash prize to support her further education in Europe.
Through her multimedia practice, Walsh examines memories, mortality and the fleeting present. Dear Frida (2018), one of the paintings in her winning portfolio of works, for example, is a self-portrait. For Walsh, the creation of the work entailed a process of self-examination over an extended period of time. This sense of change, captured in a still image, is paralleled in the material of the painting’s ground—copper, utilized by the artist for its unstable properties, and the inevitable corruption of the element until sealed in paint.
According to guest judge Ben Quilty, Walsh’s work “has a quiet yet very self-assured sophistication that belies her youth.” Quilty selected Walsh from this year’s 11 finalists: Otis Hope Carey, Martin Claydon, Danica Firulovic, Holly Greenwood, India Mark, Jason Phu, Jordon Richardson, Monica Rohan, Nick Santoro, Adrian Smith and Myles Young. Walsh is the 20th recipient of the Scholarship and joins the ranks of Mitch Cairns, Ben Quilty, and Marcus Wills, among others.
Dennis Mao is an editorial intern at ArtAsiaPacific.
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