One of Australia’s leading jewellers Mari Funaki, and celebrated arts advocate Emeritus Professor David Williams AM, have been honoured with the 2007 Australia Council for the Arts’ Visual Arts Emeritus Award and the Visual Arts Emeritus Medal respectively.
Professor Ted Snell, chair of the Australia Council’s visual arts board presented the two arts luminaries with the awards at a ceremony in Sydney today in recognition of their outstanding achievements.
Mari Funaki received the $40,000 Visual Arts Emeritus Award for her highly acclaimed metal and jewellery work and for her role in promoting contemporary jewellery design in Australia.
Professor David Williams AM received the $10,000 Visual Arts Emeritus Medal for his outstanding achievements as an arts administrator and advocate for the visual arts.
Australia Council chief executive officer Kathy Keele said the awards reflected the impact Ms Funaki and Professor Williams have had on Australia’s visual arts. ‘Both Mari and David have played such a pivotal role in the development of their respective areas in the visual arts. Their impact resonates throughout the world. We are incredibly pleased to offer this recognition for their exceptional work.’
After arriving in Australia from Japan in 1979, Mari Funaki completed a Bachelor of Arts (Painting) and later a Bachelor of Arts Honours, (Gold and Silversmithing) at RMIT University, Melbourne. Her distinctive metal and jewellery work is widely respected and lauded around the world. In her role as director of Gallery Funaki Melbourne, Ms Funaki is a vigorous advocate of Australian contemporary jewellery. Ms Funaki was also a member of the Visual Arts Advisory Committee, Asialink Arts Program from 2004 to 2007.
Ms Funaki has exhibited widely in Australia, Japan, The Netherlands, Austria, USA, UK and Germany. Her solo exhibitions include Space Between (2006) and Shifts (2000) at Gallery Funaki, Recent Work (1995) at Craft ACT, Reflection (1994) at Craft Victoria and Recent Work (1991) at Kuni’s, Melbourne.
Ms Funaki’s work is represented in major Australian and international public collections including Die Neue Sammlung, Munich Germany, National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Powerhouse Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia and RMIT University.
Ms Funaki has won numerous awards including the Diamond Art Valley Award (Melbourne) in 1992, The Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group of Australia’s Young Achiever Award in 1994, The Herbert Hoffman Prize (Munich Germany) in 1996 and 1999 and the City of Hobart Art Prize in 2002.