NAVA's 2017 Visual Arts Fellowship and Australian Artists' Grant recipients announced

Image: Sarah Goffman, 'Excess' 2007. Found fabric, sewing machine, table installation view.

The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) congratulates artists Sarah Goffman (NSW), and collaborative duo Sonia Leber and David Chesworth (Vic) announced as the recipients of the 2017 $20,000 NAVA Visual Arts Fellowships, supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

NAVA also announces the four recipients of NAVA’s 2017 Australian Artists’ Grant: Tarik Ahlip (NSW), Taloi Havini (NSW), Shannon Lyons (Vic) and Kenny Pittock (NSW). A Highly Commended has also been awarded to MAFA (Melbourne Artists for Asylum Seekers).

“Fellowships offer artists that rare and valuable space and time to find focus and rigour. NAVA is thrilled to support such exciting new work with thanks to the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. And for the first time this year, the generosity of Penelope Seidler AM supports five additional artists and projects planning ambitious works. I am deeply impressed with the vision and scope of these projects – and can't wait to experience them” said NAVA’s Executive Director, Esther Anatolitis.

Visual Arts Fellowships

Aimed at mid-career artists these prestigious 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.

Sarah Goffman is South-Sydney based artist whose works often involve her reuse of everyday consumable items, transforming discarded objects into socially engaged installations and assemblages. With this fellowship she will develop a new work project using second hand men's business suits for a solo exhibition/installation at 55 Sydenham Road.

Goffman expressed her “wholehearted exaltation” at the news of being awarded the fellowship. "I can now benefit from being able to realise a new work, unhindered by costs", she said. “The Visual Arts Fellowship is a substantial award which facilitates my practice in a whole new format, at the same time as recognising the hard work that I've done in the past. It basically entails a formative trust in my abilities and execution of a new large-scale work, for which I am so very grateful” she continued.

Sonia Leber and David Chesworth are a Melbourne based duo, known for their distinctive installation artworks, using video, sound, architecture, and public participation. This fellowship will enable them to gain training in video colour-grading as well as develop an ambitious seven-channel video work ‘Geography Becomes Territory Becomes’ for a mid-career survey exhibition at Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne.

"We are truly thrilled to be the recipients of this fellowship - also buoyed, more energised and more enabled to create an ambitious new multi-screen moving image work for our forthcoming mid-career survey exhibition at Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne” said Leber and Chesworth today.

"This comes at a critical time in our practice, to benefit a range of video works to be presented at Centre for Contemporary Photography, with a high degree of experimentation in the staging of each work.” They continued, “the fellowship’s focus on skills development in professional video colour-grading will benefit all of our works into the future, enabling us to continue developing the necessary hands-on expertise to create the total filming, editing and sound design ourselves, affording us greater creative flexibly and confidence.”

Kenny Pittock, ‘Five Sunny-boys and an esky!’, 2017. Acrylic on ceramic and wood.

L-R: Tarik Ahlip, 'Grey Nurse' (detail), 2017. Concrete and bronze, 3300 x 560mm.
Shannon Lyons, 'A dead mouse and a broken coffee machine', 2016, Stainless steel, pine lining boards, commercial 2grp head coffee machine, coffee grinder, superwipe cloth, reclaimed jarrah, MDF, single wall paper takeaway coffee cups, coffee beans, coffee knocker, rubber mat, extension cord, plastic bin, bin liner, clipboards, glass, digital print on paper, IKEA ‘EKBY BJÄRNUM’ brackets, taxidermied mouse corpse, borrowed stanchions. Installation dimensions variable. Photo: Dan McCabe

Australian Artists’ Grant

The Australian Artists' Grant is a NAVA initiative, this year made possible through a generous donation from Penelope Seidler AM. The small grant program aims to assist professional visual and media arts, craft and design practitioners to produce, present and promote their work throughout Australia and overseas.

Tarik Ahlip will create a new work of marble carving, handmade leather casing and cast plaster relief works for ‘Unreal City’ an exhibition curated by Sarah Rees which will show at Firstdraft, Woolloomooloo in January 2018.

Taloi Havini will spend six-months at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York developing new photographic work and researching the Pacific collections within local museum and gallery archives including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Museum of Natural History Smithsonian Institution.

Shannon Lyons will develop a new site-responsive artwork entitled Instant Gratification to be presented in Infrastructuralism, a group exhibition curated by Dr Kent Wilson at La Trobe Art Institute (LAI) in early February 2018.

Kenny Pittock will participate in 'Surburbia', the inaugural exhibition at gallery Cement Fondu. This grant will directly fund the production and presentation of 64 Games, a collection of sixty-four hand-sculpted ceramic Nintendo game cartridges.

MAFA (Melbourne Artists for Asylum Seekers) received a highly commended award to perform a storytelling circle as a part of the NGV’s Triennial Festival. They also received the Eckersley's Art & Craft $250 prize.

For media enquiries contact Penelope Benton, General Manager 02 9368 1900.

For further information on NAVA's grant program visit

NAVA's 2017 Visual Arts Fellowship and Australian Artists' Grant recipients announced