Northern Illawarra artists and couple India Mark and Nick Santoro have both been named as two of the ten finalists in the 2017 Brett Whitely Travelling Art Scholarship.
Brett Whitely’s mother Beryl generously allocated the scholarship funds in memory of her son, to encourage excellence in painting and to offer young artists (aged between 20-30) the same opportunity to develop their careers as were afforded to her son. This year, more than 130 artists applied for the scholarship.
The scholarship is administered by the Art Gallery of NSW. It’s awarded to a talented young artist/painter with an established body of who who is best able to demonstrate the use and benefit of the scholarship to further their art education in Europe.
The winner receives $40,000 and must spend at least six months in Europe, including a three month residency.
The Northern Illawarra has a strong connection with the award. Last year’s recipient was Lucy O’Doherty who won with her painting of a beach shack at Little Garie.
Nick painted India and India painted Nick!
“If either of us wins,” says Nick, “we have talked about it and we will both go.
“It would be so amazing to have that space and to be able to focus on making art, without having to worry about life.
“Trying to earn money and worry about work and living makes practicing art really slow going, because it’s so hard to make the time.
“Plus it would be incredible to be able to work in Europe, surrounded by all the resources and history. Like being transported to another world!”
India, who works at Finbox in Thirroul, is also thrilled to have been shortlisted for the prize. “I feel like this recognition is an indicator. It tells me I’m going in the right direction,” she says. “The Brett Whitely Scholarship is carefully considered and always goes to someone who goes on to do great things, so it’s amazing to be named a finalist
Both artists are associated with Egg and Dart in Thirroul.