Mikala Dwyer and Michelle Nikou awarded inaugural NAVA Visual Arts Fellowship 2016

The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) and Copyright Agency congratulate artists Mikala Dwyer (NSW), and Michelle Nikou (SA) announced as recipients of the inaugural $20,000 NAVA Visual Arts Fellowship.

Aimed at mid-career artists these prestigious new Fellowships supported by the Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund and administered by NAVA, ensure these exceptional artists can explore the next major development in their practice and seek opportunities to enhance their reputations, and build their professional careers.

“The Copyright Agency is incredibly proud of its partnership with NAVA as the Fellowships provide valuable financial support to artists to help them develop their work and showcase the enviable talent of Australia’s passionate and creative Australian arts community,” said Copyright Agency CEO, Adam Suckling.

This year’s selection panel which included curator Hannah Mathews and artist Sally Smart said, “The Visual Arts Fellowship was extremely competitive with a high calibre of applications that demonstrated an exciting range of invitations being made to Australian artists both here and abroad. We are delighted with the final selection of Mikala Dwyer and Michelle Nikou for the Fellowships.”

“Mikala's practice is well established and ever evolving. Firmly embedded in Sydney's arts community through her generous spirit and teaching, her work has continued to explore the alchemic potentials and latent histories of materials while challenging sculptural forms and notions of transformation. Mikala's upcoming solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW is hugely exciting and will see her push the relationship between audience and objects.”

“Michelle has chosen to develop her highly distinct practice and successful artistic career from her base in Adelaide. Her works are characterised by a nuanced and poetic sensibility and commitment to material and technical exploration. Michelle has been at the forefront of artists working in the post-object lineage of the 1960s, refining a conceptual minimalist practice that has been highly influential to younger artists. Her Fellowship will be studio focused, with plans for intense research into new materials, development of new methodologies and potential collaborations,” they continued.

In the next year Dwyer will realise ambitious new work for a major solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) in August 2017, and present work internationally having been invited by the new Foundation Fiminco in Paris to participate in exhibition Triple Point of Matter.

“I'm grateful for this opportunity to really stretch my work into new forms, scales and materialities. With the institutional support of the gallery I believe I can do something I’ve never been able to do before. Creating a total work with four rooms and choreographing the experience of time and atmospheres through these spaces. This Fellowship is crucial to the realising of these projects and will uniquely help in extending and consolidating my practice into new realms,” said Dwyer.

Nikou will utilise the Fellowship to develop a new body of work and skills through a self-initiated program of professional development and research at the Lombok village of Sukarara, Indonesia. She will be learning traditional techniques of weaving incorporating natural dyes and materials.


“This timely Fellowship offers the opportunity to consolidate my practice by providing the resources to acquire knowledge, learn skills and techniques from master technicians in Indonesia that will prove of great benefit for the adaptive future of my practice. The realisation of this research journey will enable the further development of a practice committed to growth and exchange which I hope to share in a gallery setting on completion,” said Nikou.

For further information on the NAVA Visual Arts Fellowship visit https://visualarts.net.au/nava-grants/

Image (left to right): Mikala Dwyer, Square Cloud Compound, Magnetism curated by Vaari Claffy, 2015 Sligo, Ireland. Courtesy the artist; Michelle Nikou, Sylvia’s Jumper 2013, wool, cement, wood, 80 x 20 x 120cm. Courtesy the artist and Darren Knight Gallery.

For media enquiries please contact:

Yu Ye Wu, Marketing & Publicity Coordinator, NAVA 02 9368 1900 ywu@visualarts.net.au

NAVA and Copyright Agency Cultural Fund logos