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Congratulations to Sally Anderson who has won the 2017 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship. Speaking to the Sydney–based artist just moments after the announcement she said, “I’m a bit shocked. I knew I was in the top few, but I had no idea I was going to win! It’s an incredible opportunity.”

The annual scholarship for young painters between 20 and 30 years old includes a three-month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts, and $40,000 to facilitate an additional three months travelling in Europe.

While Anderson is yet to formalise any plans, she is looking forward to returning to Paris, a city which continues to exert a magnetic pull on painters.

“I think there is still a kind of attraction to Paris,” she said. “I have spent a few days there and it wasn’t nearly long enough. And the galleries there are just incredible. For me Paris is still where I’d like to be and it will be great to be there for good amount of time.”

Following her time in Paris she intends to head both north and south. “I’d like to get down to Italy. I’ve never been there,” she explained. “But I also spent some time in Iceland a few years ago and I’d love to get back up to those Nordic countries. Iceland is fascinating. It’s so polar opposite to Australia, but when I was up there I found that there are a lot of similarities: it’s an island, and most people live on the coast, and I found that fascinating as well. I could kinda relate here to there.”

By winning the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship Anderson joins a list of previous winners that includes some of the big names in Australian painting: Ben Quilty was the 2002 winner, and Mitch Cairns (who won the Archibald Prize this year) won in 2012. When asked how she feels to be in such illustrious company Anderson said, “I feel super honoured and I guess really excited for what this means for my practice. It’s really obvious the impact the scholarship has had on other winners and how it has affected them. And that is really inspiring.”

Anderson was selected by guest judge Ildiko Kovacs from a field which included nine other finalists: Tim Buckovic, Madeleine Cruise, Annalisa Ferraris, Holly Greenwood, Charlie Ingemar Harding, Andrew Hopkins, India Mark, Peta Minnici and Nick Santoro.

“What drew me immediately into Sally’s work is the freedom and clarity in her use of paint,” Kovacs said. “Beautiful areas of abstracted shapes, alongside her use of the figurative, sit comfortably and feel coherent. There is a naturalness in her ability to marry the two.”

Work by all of the 2017 finalists will be on show at the Brett Whiteley Studio.

Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship Finalists Exhibition
Brett Whiteley Studio
13 October – 19 November

Tracey Clement