Class of 2010 Samstag Scholarships

Samstag media release

2010 SAMSTAG SCHOLARSHIPS

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Two Australian artists have been presented with 2010 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarships, in an announcement made by the University of South Australia today. The University has awarded the prestigious scholarships - for study overseas in the visual arts commencing in 2010 - on behalf of the Trustee of the estate of Gordon Samstag, late of Naples, Florida USA.

The two fortunate artists are Alex Lawler, an exciting recent graduate from Sydney College of the Arts, New South Wales, and Michelle Nikou, a South Australian artist whose intriguing and highly original practice already enjoys substantial national recognition. They each will receive a twelve months living allowance of US$35,000 (United States dollars), as well as travel expenses and the cost of institutional study fees, at a leading international art school of their choice.

News of this year's Samstag Scholarships has been eagerly awaited by artists and observers in the wider Australian art world, following last year's temporary 'scholarship moratorium', introduced by the Samstag Trustee as a prudent measure during the global economic crisis.

In a strong sign of confidence, Erica Green - Director of UniSA's Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, which administers the scholarships program, says the Trustee was committed to offering scholarships this year and was, "very keen to keep faith with young Australian artists, knowing they look enthusiastically to Samstag as their best-possible passport to greater professional success." But she suggests that a cautious approach will be maintained by the Trustee until the economic recovery is firmly in place.

Artist judges for the 2010 Samstag Scholarships were Associate Professor John Barbour, Director of the South Australian School of Art, Louise Haselton, artist and lecturer at the School of Art and Dr Peter Hill, the prominent Melbourne-based artist, writer and educator.

Peter Hill says he "jumped with joy at the opportunity," when asked to be the external selector for this year's awards. An internationally-renowned writer on the visual arts and author of the best-selling book, 'Stargazing: memoirs of a young lighthouse keeper', Hill says, "I've always maintained that the best thing that has happened to contemporary art in Australia is the Samstag Scholarships. The Samstags have taken the best Australian artists overseas and placed them within the world's finest art schools. The knowledge these graduates gain has then returned with them to Australia, benefitting the whole infrastructure of this country's visual arts scene!"

Now in their eighteenth award year, the Samstag Scholarships are renowned for identifying artists of exciting talent, who progress to careers of high achievement. A total of 118 Samstag Scholarships have been awarded since 1992.

For further information contact
Erica Green, Director, Samstag Museum of Art
Tel + 618 (08) 8302 0872
Email: erica.green@unisa.edu.au