Class of 2012 Samstag Scholarships


Samstag media release


Thursday, 3 November 2011

The University of South Australia has announced the 2012 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarships. The two lucky 2012 Samstag Scholarship recipients are Monte Masi, from South Australia, and James Newitt, from Tasmania.

The University has awarded the renowned and prestigious scholarships – for twelve months study overseas in the visual arts commencing in 2012 – on behalf of the Trustee of the estate of Gordon Samstag, the celebrated American artist who taught at the South Australian School of Art in the 1960s. A total of 122 Samstag Scholarships have now been awarded since 1992.

Both artists receive a twelve months living allowance of US$37,000 (United States dollars), as well as travel expenses and the cost of institutional study fees at a leading international art school of their choice.

Monte Masi is principally a performance-based video artist and an active figure in Adelaide’s lively contemporary art scene (he is a founding director of ARI FELTspace and presently curator at the Contemporary Art Centre of SA). In Masi’s two recent bodies of work, Songs for Artworks and Spend some time with... he simultaneously assumes the roles of critic, curator, fan and artist in promo-style documentary videos and public performances. Masi is currently preparing for a solo exhibition at NextWave Festival 2012.

James Newitt lives in Hobart and is head of the Visual Communication studio at the University of Tasmania, School of Art. He employs documentary strategies, such as photography, video, sound and installation, to examine social and cultural relationships. His compelling film, If They Fall, presents an intimate portrait of two conflicted communities who are affected by the forestry industry in Tasmania. Filmed over a four-month period, the video is an exploration of the passing of time, as much as a project of environmental and sociological research. Newitt has exhibited in Europe and China and was selected for the 2010 Primavera exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. His latest exhibition, To Catch a Tiger, is currently on display at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Erica Green, Director of UniSA’s Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, which administers the scholarships program, says she is delighted that the Samstag Trustee continues to express strong confidence and enthusiasm for the in-perpetuity future of the Samstag Scholarships, despite the ongoing challenges in global financial markets. “It’s become more and more clear to us in the past few years, just how important the Samstag Scholarships are to the ecology of Australian art,”

Green says, suggesting that “Samstag acts a bit like a beacon for our emerging artists, and although the scholarship numbers are necessarily limited at present, their very existence provides an achievable goal, and points to the wonderful opportunities that Australian artists can aspire to, if they are willing to chance their arm!”

Green says that the Samstag opportunity is an enviable one by any measure “ will not only introduce Newitt and Masi to stimulating new experiences overseas, but will provide each of them a generously-funded basis for further development of their professional arts practice”

Artist selectors for the 2012 Samstag Scholarships were Professor Kay Lawrence AM, Director of the South Australian School of Art; Louise Haselton, artist and lecturer at the School of Art; and Callum Morton, an internationally exhibited artist and celebrated former recipient of a Samstag Scholarship, in 2003.

This year, respected art historian, Dr Anne Sanders, has been commissioned to write short essays on Monte Masi and James Newitt, available to read on the Samstag Program website, along with selected images and films and biographical information of both artists.

For further information contact
Erica Green, Director, Samstag Museum of Art
Tel + 618 (08) 8302 0872