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Eleven major commissions announced with $1.1 million in funding for 2023 Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS)

Media Releases
Mar 17, 2023

Richard Bell, Pay the Rent (Australia), 2022. Image courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery, Meanjin/Brisbane.

Diverse and ambitious new Australian visual arts and crafts projects – from major multi-sensory installations and aerial infra-red moving imagery to 5D technology storytelling – will be supported with a combined $1.1 million in investment from the Australia Council for the Arts.

In total, 11 individual artists or groups have each been awarded $100,000 in grant funding towards the realisation of their projects through the Council’s new Visual Arts and Crafts Strategy (VACS) Major Commissioning Projects program.

Danie Mellor, The pleasure and vexation of history, 2017

Danie Mellor, The pleasure and vexation of history, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist.

The works are set to appear right across Australia, and beyond, with established Aboriginal artist Richard Bell invited to present his new commission ‘Pay the Rent (United Kingdom)’ as part of a solo exhibition in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern, London, in May – the first Australian artist to be programmed in the space.

Australia Council for the Arts Chief Executive Adrian Collette said the Council was delighted to be able to support both emerging and established artists through the VACS Major Commissioning Projects program.

Richard Bell sign

Richard Bell, Embassy, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery, Meanjin/Brisbane. Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and Tate.

“Australia has a rich array of talented visual arts and crafts artists, and we recognise and respect their passion and dedication to their craft, as well as their enormous contribution to the nation’s collective artistic endeavour,” said Mr Collette.

“Through this investment, we are pleased to help ensure these ambitious new works are realised and able to reach diverse audiences, whether they be in small venues, state galleries or exhibition spaces in the United Kingdom and Germany.

Elizabeth Willing, Strawberry Thief. 2018 Melbourne Art Fair for Tolarno Galleries. Installation: digital printed wallpaper, Giclée prints on cotton paper, hand-carved, varnished recycled Australian hardwood, valerian tincture in etched glass bottle, cut, etched and perforated laboratory glasses.
Image courtesy of the artist and Tolarno Galleries Melbourne. Photograph by Andrew Curtis

“We are sure the art, which tackles significant issues including place, memory and identity, will spark conversations, provoke thought and positively impact many thousands of lives.”

All applications were peer assessed by a panel of industry experts against set criteria including Quality, Viability and Creation of New Work.

Vipoo Srivalasa, Happy Together, 2017

Vippo Srivalasa, Happy Together, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist.

VACS Major Commissioning Projects grant recipients are listed below:

Danie Mellor (NSW), presenting at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QLD)

Richard Bell (QLD), presenting at the TATE Modern (UK)

Rochelle Haley (NSW), presenting at the National Gallery of Australia (ACT)

Justine Youssef (NSW), presenting at Adelaide Contemporary International (SA), Institute of Modern Art (QLD) and UTS Gallery & Collection (NSW)

Elizabeth Willing (QLD), presenting at Metro Arts (QLD)

George Cooley (SA), Umoona Arts Centre, presenting at the Art Gallery of South Australia

Andrew Hutson (TAS), presenting at Contemporary Art Tasmania (TAS)

Vipoo Srivilasa (VIC), presenting at the Australian Design Centre (NSW)

AM Kanngieser (VIC), presenting at Transmediale (Germany) and Sonic Acts Biennale (Netherlands)

Common Collective (VIC), presenting at a location in the City of Wyndham (VIC)

Second Generation Collective (WA), presenting at the Perth Institute for Contemporary Arts