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Congratulations to Fiona Foley, Peter Powditch AM and Tim Storrier AM who are the recipients of the 2017 National Art School Fellowships.

Since 2002, the National Art School (NAS) has conferred the fellowships at the institute’s graduation ceremony. The award is NAS’s highest honour and recognises inspiring achievements by Australian visual artists, arts administrators, writers and advocates.

As NAS Director Steven Alderton says, “In recognising these three prominent alumni, we are recognising their immense contributions to Australian art. Their work and their careers are inspirations to our students.”

The fellowships are also a moment for recipients to reflect on their time as students at NAS and how the experience has influenced their thought-process and art.

Artist, writer and curator Fiona Foley, a Badtjala woman from Queensland’s southeast, graduated from NAS in 1983. Foley says of her student days, “I have very fond memories of two lecturers who were inspirational teachers, who taught me about life in the arts: Geoffrey De Groen and Bruce McCalmont.”

Powditch, a painter, printmaker and sculptor, studied at the National Art School from 1960-1963 and succinctly says of his time at NAS, “Lyndon Dadswell taught me to see. John Olsen taught me what to see.”

Meanwhile Storrier, who studied at NAS from 1967–1969 and is now a symbolic landscape painter, has quite personal memories of attending the school. “It was raining and I was playing the Beatles ‘Help’ on the stereogram the morning before I went to the East Sydney Technical College to be tested for admittance in 1967,” says Storrier. “50 years later I reflect that the gift of critically seeing the visual world and being able to translate it was given to me by the men and women at this grand old institution.”

The awards were presented by members of the arts community who have a long-standing interest the fellows’ work. Powditch’s award was presented by artist Ron Robertson-Swann OAM, who is also a childhood friend of Powditch’s and the NAS’s Head of Sculpture.

Curator and writer Djon Mundine presented Foley’s fellowship, while Catharine Lumby conferred Storrier’s award, with Lumby having written a book on Storrier’s work in 2000.

Tiarney Miekus