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Friday 5 December 2014

Australia Council invests in leading artists

Some of Australia’s most accomplished artists working in various art forms have been recognised with prestigious Australia Council Fellowships.

The highly sought after fellowships, worth $100,000 over two years, are awarded to outstanding, established artists for creative activity and professional development.  This year they have been awarded to 12 artists in seven art form areas.  This year’s recipients are:

• Yumi Umiumare – Dance

• Gail Priest – Emerging and Experimental Arts

• Tamara Saulwick – Theatre

• Patrick Nolan – Theatre

• David Brooks – Literature

• Jennifer Lyons-Reid – Community Arts and Cultural Development

• Oren Ambarchi – Music

• Kate Neal – Music

• Rosalind Page – Music

• Marco Fusinato – Visual Arts

• Jill Orr – Visual Arts

•  Cameron Robbins – Visual Arts

Australia Council Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski congratulated the recipients of this year’s fellowships and paid tribute to the outstanding body of work each had already produced in their respective art forms.

“Fellowships have always been central to the Council’s grants program and for many artists they are life-changing to their career,” Mr Grybowski said.

“Fellowships are only granted once in an artists’ lifetime to those who can demonstrate outstanding achievement on the national and international stage, so the calibre of these recipients is very impressive.

“One of the goals in the Council’s new Strategic Plan – Australia is known for its great art and artists – aims to build the capacity of artists to make excellent work and foster experimentation and risk-taking in all art forms.

“Fellowships realise this goal by supporting artists to develop their arts practice, experiment, research and create new ways to present their works and further their artistic ambitions and career.

“They play an important role in providing artists with the time and financial security needed to focus on their work and the freedom to reflect, innovate, experiment and collaborate.”

Fellowship applications are assessed and awarded by peers in the relevant art form areas.

Under the Australia Council’s new grants model, which begins in January, Fellowships will be offered once a year with a June closing date.

Past Fellowship recipients include Gary Lang, Alana Valentine, Archie Roach, Tim Daly, Judith Wright and Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Fellowships will be announced along with the Red Ochre and Dreaming awards on 27 May 2015.

For more information on Australia Council Fellowships, go to: 


Yumi Umiumare

Born in Hyogo, Japan, Yumi is an independent dancer, choreographer and creator of DasSHOKU Butoh Cabaret. The only Japanese Butoh Dancer in Australia, she is the creator of physical theatre works and Butoh Cabaret, her self-created genre exploring cultural identity through narrative and abstraction. Yumi has been creating and teaching her distinctive style of works over the past 20 years for festivals, dance, theatre and film productions throughout Australia, Japan, Europe, New Zealand and South East Asia. Her works have received critical acclaim and garnered her and her collaborators several Australian Green Room awards. Her production credits include Fleeting Moments (1998), Tokyo DasSHOKU Girl (1999 – 2003), DasSHOKU Cultivations!! (Osaka 2003), DasSHOKU Hora!! (Melbourne 2005 and Sydney Opera House 2006) and most recently DasSHOKU SHAKE! (2012), which won Melbourne Fringe Festival Awards and a Green Room Award for Innovation (Cabaret).

The fellowship will support Yumi to explore three strands of investigation: to distil her unique practices and artistry; explore and extend the deeper aspects of invisibility, ritual and magic in modern and traditional contexts; and create the ‘pop up tearoom series’: a unique space for innovative activities and intimate discussions.

Gail Priest

Gail is a Sydney-based artist with a multi-faceted practice in which sound is the key material of communication and investigation. Her work spans live electroacoustic performance, soundtracks for dance, theatre and video, as well sound installations for gallery contexts. She has released six albums of exploratory music and has been commissioned to make a number of radiophonic works for ABC Radio. She is also a curator producing exhibitions and concert events for Artspace, Performance Space and MCA ArtBar as well as producing independent gigs. She has written extensively about sound and media arts for RealTime magazine and was the editor of the book Experimental Music: audio explorations in Australia (UNSW Press, 2009).

For Gail’s fellowship she will undertake a program of professional development, including research and creation of Sounding the Future. Gail will bring all the aspects of her practice together — sound-making, writing and curating — to create Sounding the Future, a ficto-critical speculation on what the art of the future will sound like. Gail feels dedicating herself to artmaking full-time will be invaluable, creating a stronger cohesion in her practice and allowing her to push her career to a new level.

Tamara Saulwick

Tamara is an independent performance-maker based in Melbourne. Over her twenty-year-plus career in theatre, Tamara has created works underpinned by cross-disciplinary practice and site-responsiveness that explore how people connect, challenge and interact with one another. Tamara’s work has toured nationally and internationally and she has presented in some of Australia’s major contemporary performance venues. Her solo performance work Pin Drop, which won the Victorian Green Room Outstanding Production Award (Theatre – Hybrid performance), has just returned from its UK premiere at Glasgow’s contemporary performance venue Tramways.

For her fellowship Tamara will undertake research and professional development, exploring new processes and influences available through mobile, interactive, and location-based, performance styles and technologies.

Patrick Nolan

Patrick is a Sydney-based director with more than 20 years’ experience creating text-based and physical theatre, opera and large-scale outdoor performance, nationally and internationally. He has created productions for the Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide Festivals, Melbourne Theatre Company and Griffin Theatre, Queensland Music Festival, Opera Australia and New Zealand Opera. For the past five years Patrick was the Artistic Director of physical theatre company Legs On The Wall. During this time he created several new productions, including major outdoor performances for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

During his fellowship Patrick will research large-scale public performances.

David Brooks

David is a poet, novelist, essayist and short fiction writer.  He was Associate Professor of Australian Literature and Director of the graduate writing program at the University of Sydney until 2013 and is Co-editor of the journal Southerly. Called a ‘dark horse’ of Australian writing and ‘one of the quiet masters’ of its poetry, he has been shortlisted for numerous awards, including the Miles Franklin, and widely anthologised and translated. A vegan and animals rights advocate, he lives with rescued animals in the Blue Mountains and for a period each year in a village in Istria. A new collection of his poetry, Open House, is forthcoming (UQP).

During his fellowship, David will undertake research and development of a novel, Metamorphosis, exploring questions of social justice and historical guilt, the complex sociology of post-war migrant Australia, and how these issues are reflected in our relationships to and with animals.

Jennifer Lyons-Reid

Jennifer is artistic director of Change Media, a multi-award winning initiative, and leader in digital media Community Arts and Cultural Development (CACD). Jennifer has run more than 500 co-creative digital media art workshops with thousands of participants since 2002. Her projects deliver high impact work with public exposure on TV, web, festivals and public spaces. She has created ground-breaking art with schools, state government, councils, urban and remote communities, large companies, such as Bell Shakespeare and FedSquare, and social advocacy groups. Her CACD media art strategies for social change have a lasting impact at individual and community level, with many participants entering higher education as a direct result of her work, communities setting up media hubs as part of her partnership model and using outcomes for social campaigns and to influence policy.

During her fellowship Jennifer will interrogate critical literacy strategies across the CACD sector, exploring the values behind the thinking that drives the sector, via a robust collaborative and creative peer-exchange. It will result in an exploratory, transmedia CACD model, published on The Platform, as an open source Critical Literacy Forum.

Oren Ambarchi 

Oren’s works are hesitant and tense extended song forms located in the cracks between several schools: modern electronics and processing; laminal improvisation and minimalism; hushed, pensive songwriting; the deceptive simplicity and temporal suspensions of composers such as Morton Feldman and Alvin Lucier; and the physicality of rock music, slowed down and stripped back to its bare bones, abstracted and replaced with pure signal.  From the late ‘90s his experiments in guitar abstraction and extended technique have led to a more personal and unique sound-world, incorporating a broader palette of instruments and sensibilities.  Ambarchi has performed and recorded with a diverse array of artists such as Fennesz, Charlemagne Palestine, Thomas Brinkmann, Keiji Haino, Alvin Lucier, John Zorn, Merzbow, Jim O’Rourke, Keith Rowe, Phill Niblock, John Tilbury, Sunn 0))), Evan Parker, Iancu Dumitrescu, Akio Suzuki and many more. Ambarchi has released recordings for labels such as Touch, Editions Mego, Drag City, Black Truffle, Kranky, Southern Lord and Tzadik.

For his fellowship, Oren will complete a series of compositions, expanding his electro acoustic musical language.

Kate Neal

Composer Kate Neal has been composing and arranging for more than 20 years.  She holds a BMus (VCA, Melbourne); BMus/MMus (RC, The Hague); PGDip (RNCM, Manchester) and is a current PhD graduate at Princeton University.  Kate creates musical works that incorporate physical gesture, design, light and choreography. The result is a musical language that extends the existing techniques of the performing musician, and creates a synthesis of experience for audiences where music is to be seen and heard: the performative aspect of the work is as important as the aural. In many cases, these works provide a variety of unprecedented collisions of unlikely visual and musical cues.  Recent commissions and performances include Handke (Vanessa Tomlinson, 2014), Permission to Speak (Chamber Made, 2014/15), What Hath I and II (SO Percussion USA 2011/12), This Moment of Inertia (Crash Ensemble, IRE 2013), Piano and Bells (Yarn Wire USA 2013), Three pieces for Animation (JACK Quartet USA 2011), The No. 5 Song (Room Full of Teeth USA 2013), Particle Zoo II (Large Ensemble AUS/USA 2010), Piano Duo (Viney-Grenberg Duo AUS 2012-13-14).

During her fellowship Kate will create several new works, including collaborations with Sal Cooper and Theatre Fellow Tamara Saulwick.

Dr Rosalind Page

Rosalind is a composer who has created works for theatre, dance, chamber ensembles, orchestra and electronica, with performances in Europe, UK, USA and Japan.  Since 2006 she has taught composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Rosalind’s artistic practice includes her MA (Theatre and Film Studies) on sound and image relationships in the films of Andrei Tarkovsky and Wim Wenders and her PhD in composition with Ross Edwards.  In 2004, Fracture: a noh play for cello and orchestra, an interpretation of Shakespeare’s King Lear and Kurosawa’s RAN, received a Highly Commended Award in the Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize and in 2006 her setting of Lorca’s Sonetos del Amor Oscuro won the Paul Lowin Song Cycle Prize. Rosalind has been an invited composer by the International Society for Contemporary Music at Visby International Centre for Composers, Sweden, Centre D’Art – Marnay Art Centre, France, Herhusid, Iceland and The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada.

During her fellowship Rosalind will create new works for performance and develop collaborations in Australia, the UK and Europe.

Marco Fusinato

Marco Fusinato is an interdisciplinary artist who has been exhibiting since the early 1990s. His practice references the conditions and conventions of conceptual art, the rhetoric of radical politics (its ambitions and failures) and the extremities of noise as music. Although taking many forms, Fusinato’s exhibitions have been refining a trajectory that draws on amplification, whether theoretical, physical, sonic or visual, to strip ideas and materials down to their essential properties.  Fusinato’s work has been selected for significant national and international exhibitions, including Soundings: A Contemporary Score, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013); Melbourne Now at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2013); and the 30th Sao Paulo Biennale, Sao Paulo (2012). He was also featured in Sonic Youth: Sensational Fix (2009/2010) a major travelling exhibition around European museums of artists that have collaborated with the New York rock band, Sonic Youth. Apart from working in gallery contexts Fusinato is also a musician performing regularly in the international experimental music underground (within the sub-genre of Noise). He uses the guitar and its associated electronics to create wide-ranging frequencies that physically affect the audience.

Marco will use the fellowship to research, develop and exhibit a series of light and noise installations titled Aetheric Plexus.

Jill Orr

Jill Orr is an established performance artist who has been practicing since 1978. Her work grapples with the balance and discord that exists at the heart of relations between the human spirit, art and nature.  Orr’s performances and installations of video and photographic works have been presented in major cities around the world, including Berlin, Paris, New York, Amsterdam, Beijing, Graz, Poland, London and Venice.  She has an interest in site-specific performance and her work often addresses current social and environmental issues. In 2004 Orr created From the Sea, a work about the wild shipwreck coastline of Warrnambool.  This panoramic video installation was in created in collaboration with the Gunditmara Aboriginal Community from Warrnambool and it initiated a body of work that traces overlapping histories of Indigenous and non- Indigenous relations to place.  In 2012, Orr’s work, The Promised Land, was presented along-side work by Marina Abramovic, Jan Fabre and Yoko Ono at the inaugural Venice International Performance Art Week.

During her fellowship Jill will create a multi-media series of performances and installations that will investigate the politics of food production and the poetics of sharing through performance ritual.  ‘Ingredients for a Precarious Meal’ will be presented in Australia, and internationally.

Cameron Robbins

Cameron Robbins is a visual and sound artist who has been exhibiting since 1984. His work endeavours to make tangible the underlying structures and rhythms of natural forces.  Robbins’ practice expresses empirical information gathered from studying the natural world by deploying structural devices and mechanical systems to transcribe wind, weather, magnetic fields or ocean waves. The resulting aesthetic is one of both careful engineering and resourcefulness and the outputs of his installations include drawings, spatial works and sound compositions. Robbins’ strong interdisciplinary practice is a product of a 30-year career in jazz and experimental music. He has exhibited widely, including projects at the Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart; Nordisk Kunstnarsenter Dale in Norway; OQBO and NK Projects in Berlin 2014; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; the Setouchi Festival of Art, Japan; the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; Perth Institute of Contemporary Art; and Artspace in Sydney.  Robbins’ drawings have been recently collected by the National Gallery of Australia.  He has completed a number of large-scale commissions, including Ellerslie Weather Station (Hobart 2014), Wind Section Instrumental, (MONA 2013/14), Climate Control (Melbourne Now, NGV 2013/14); The ‘Double Venturi’ sound /art projects series with Peter Knight;  Double Vortex for CH2 (City of Melbourne 2006), Time Beacon (2001) in Altona, Victoria, and Double Sump (1997) in Marree, South Australia.

Cameron will undertake a program of exhibitions and residencies during his fellowship and will create new site-specific and commissioned works.

Media contact

Karen Smith

02 9215 9030 | 0498 123 541



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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