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The Australia Council for the Arts is delighted to announce leading Australian artist Jenny Watson as the latest recipient of the highly sought-after residency in Rome.

Offered through the generous support of the Mordant Family, this prestigious opportunity enables an Australian artist to spend two months in Rome as part of the American Academy’s Affiliated Fellowship Program.

Australia Council CEO Tony Grybowski congratulated Jenny Watson, whose conceptual painting practice spans more than four decades, and thanked the Mordant family for their continued support.

“We are delighted that Jenny Watson, who has been creating distinctive and powerful work since the 1970s, will be taking part in this Fellowship. The continued and generous investment by the Mordant family in this Fellowship at the American Academy allows us to realise a shared vision of increasing opportunities for Australian artists to thrive across borders.”

Watson has long employed textiles as a medium in her recognisable paintings. She sources fabrics from around the world, in part as a way to capture something about each place. Expanding on this Ms Watson plans to use her Fellowship to explore Rome’s many fabric shops, or Tessuti, and then create a new body of work influenced by Rome. Jenny Watson expressed her thanks to the Australia Council and Mordant Family for the opportunity.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to spend two valuable months in Rome to conduct research and make two new sets of work. I look forward to interactions with the scholars in residence, accessing material held in the library and archives, and searching for fabrics as support for these paintings,” Ms Watson said. Simon Mordant AM, on behalf of the Mordant family, said he was impressed by the consistently high calibre of applications for the Fellowship, and looked forward to seeing Jenny Watson realise her next artistic vision in Rome. “Jenny Watson is an exceptional Australian artist who has a significant profile both within Australia and overseas, including representing Australia at the Venice Biennale in 1993 and having her works held in major galleries in Australia and a number of overseas collections. Catriona and I are delighted to support Jenny to expand her professional creative practice and networks in Rome through the American Academy. Jenny Watson is the second recipient of the Mordant Family/Australia Council Fellowship following the recent residency by Lynne Roberts Goodwin in 2017,” he said.

Established in 1894, the American Academy in Rome is the oldest American overseas centre for independent study and advanced research in the arts and humanities. Through the Affiliated Fellowship Program, artists and scholars from all over the world have the opportunity to pursue their work in an inspiring, collaborative and supportive environment, with accommodation and studio space provided in the AAR’s historic building on the Janiculum Hill.



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030

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