Salote Tawale has been awarded the inaugural Arts NSW Visual Artists Fellowship. Tawale was selected from a shortlist of six NSW artists which also included: Khadim Ali, Linda Dement, Karla Dickens, Bianca Hester and Hiromi Tango.
The new fellowship supports the professional development of a NSW resident deemed to be a mid-career or established artist. The NSW Visual Artists Fellowship includes $30,000, an acquisitive Artbank commission valued up to $20,000, and a residency at a NSW regional gallery, in this case at the Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA).
Tawale says of her win, “I was feeling super nervous. But then we all did an artist’s talk, and everyone was so cool. That really took the edge off because everyone was so deserving.”
While Tawale admits that at 40 she has only just entered mid-career, she says that it’s nice to see support for artists that no longer fit the category of young-emerging.
Tawale was born in Fiji and she is known for work that draws on her personal experience of race, class, ethnicity and gender while growing up in suburban Australia.
In March 2017, Tawale will use the fellowship to travel to Fiji to record family oral histories. While there she will also participate in the Veiqia Project at the Fiji Museum in Suva, an exhibition on women’s tattoo with Fijian artists from Australia and New Zealand. As she says, “It made sense to show with other members of the female diaspora.”
Tawale also has plans to use the fellowship to travel to Europe and the UK. While in London, she will start a project with London based curator Laura Castagnini. And as part of the fellowship she will undertake a residency at MAMA and develop a work for the Artbank commission.
Works by all six finalists in the 2017 Arts NSW Visual Artists Fellowship will be on show at Artbank, 222 Young Street, Waterloo, Sydney, until 24 February 2017.