Industry News May-June

Latest industry news from the visual and media arts, craft and design sector, May / June 2018.

In The News

Ballarat-based Pitcha Makin’ Fellas have taken aim at the AFL for using the designs made for the West Bulldogs’ guernsey, in a video game against the artists’ contract. "It was a single-use licence agreement and it was very specific what that single use was for," said Peter Widmer, the artists' manager who helped negotiate the contract for the AFL deal. The Ballarat group said the AFL only offered to pay for the design after the collective issued a letter of demand for payment, and that the league offered one-fifth of the amount requested.

The Heritage Council recommends protecting controversial sites and monuments by instead finding a way to include Indigenous stories of colonisation. 

The Protection of Australia’s Commemorative Places and Monuments Report has found that rather than changing laws regarding the protection of colonial monuments, Australia should invest more in recognising Aboriginal histories. The main threat to these heritage monuments is hostility from the general public, as seen in the vandalising of a Captain Cook statue in both Sydney's Hyde Park and St Kilda, Melbourne earlier this year.

Awards and Prizes

ACMI has announced NAVA member, Joan Ross, as the recipient of the 2018 Mordant Family commission. Ross has used VR as a medium before to critique the colonial legacy in Australia. The $80,000 commission will allow her to further experiment with the medium through a new work called “Did You Ask The River?” which will take the format of a video game.


NAVA member, Yvette Coppersmith was announced as the winner of the 2018 Archibald Prize with her portrait after George Lambert. She is the 10th woman to win the prestigious prize. Also, winners on the day were Kaylene Whiskey, the winner of the Sulman Prize with her work “Kaylene TV” and Yukultji Napangati winning the Wynne Prize with an untitled work.


NAVA announced it’s recipient of the Freedman Foundation International Scholarship for Curators, Micheal Do. This is an $8,000 scholarship to encourage professional development of emerging curators overseas.


The 2018 National Indigenous Arts Awards recipients have been announced. Thomas E.S. Kelly received The Dreaming Award (for emerging artists aged 18-26 years), Mrs Mavis Ngallametta and Mr John Mawurndjul AM received The Red Ochre Award (for lifetime achievement) and Hetti Perkins received The 2018 Australia Council Fellowship (for established artists, supporting creative activity and professional development for up to two years)

Elham Eshraghian received the $40,000 Schenberg Art Fellowship at this year's HATCHED exhibition at PICA, showcasing selected works by 30 graduate artists from tertiary institutions across Australia.

In Governments

This month, the Federal Budget was announced. Notably, the funding to the ABC was cut and there were no increases in arts funding to recover from the 2016 cuts to the Australia Council, Australia’s government arts funding body. 

In Galleries

Tesha Mallot has been appointed the director of Verge Gallery in Sydney. Following a 7 year tenure as the General Manager at Sydney’s longest running ARI, Firstdraft Gallery, she has been contributing to Sydney’s arts landscape for around a decade. Malott takes over from Siân McIntyre who is leaving to begin a PhD and travel.


Flinders University City Gallery is closing down and exhibitions are relocating to Flinders University’s campus at Bedford Park.

Christine Tipton has stepped down from her position as Director of Business and Operations at Melbourne’s Gertrude Contemporary

Monash Gallery of Art has appointed Pippa Milne to the role of Senior Curator. She is currently Associate Curator, International Art. She will start in the MGA role in September. Previously, Milne has been the Curator at Melbourne’s, Centre for Contemporary Photography, the Australia Council’s Emerging Curator for Victoria at the 2015 Venice Biennale, a Board member at Bus Projects, and has held teaching positions at University of Melbourne and Photography Studies College.

Emily Sexton has been appointed the Artistic Director or Melbourne’s Arts House. She is a cross-disciplinary curator and Sidney Myer Fellow. Previously, she has been Artistic Director of Next Wave, Creative Producer at Melbourne Fringe, and Head of Programming for the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas. She is currently a participant in the Australia Council’s Arts Leaders Program.

Janet Clayton Gallery, in Oxford Street, Sydney, is closing. The gallery’s last ever show features new work from artists, Heather Ellyard and Hanna Kay and will be showing until the 24th of June.

Peter Wilson has been appointed to the Artspace Board of Directors. He has held board positions with numerous organisations including the finance council at the Sisters of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict; Inner City Legal Centre and The English Association; and has served as the Director of Company B Limited (the producing company of Belvoir St Theatre) and Chairman of Playwriting Australia. Wilson was a recipient of the 2016 Emerging Philanthropy Leadership Award from Creative Partnerships Australia. Alongside his partner, James Emmett, NAVA Board Chair, Wilson continues to support social justice for LGBTQIA communities through the Inner City Legal Centre Foundation and Twenty10.

Artist and arts worker, Daniel Soma has been appointed Gallery Manager at Michael Reid, Sydney. Soma has a decade of experience working in galleries and as an Art Consultant. He is also a contributor to Runway Experimental Art Magazine, and, with a team of directors, began Cold Cuts Project Space. 

Simon Gregg has been appointed director of Gippsland Art Gallery. Gregg has been the acting director since Anton Vardy left in August Last year, and has also been Gallery Curator since 2009.

In Organisations

NAVA Member, Dr Oliver Watts has been appointed the Head Curator of Artbank. Watts is an internationally renowned curator and artist. Previously a director of Chalk Horse Gallery, lecturer of theory at the Sydney College of the Arts, and published critic and theorist. Artbank is an Australian Government program that supports artists through the acquisition for their work and leases out the collection promoting the value of Australian visual art to the broader public.

The Art Gallery of WA Board and the AGWA Director have announced a new chair for the AGWA Foundation. Warwick Hemsley is the new chair of the fundraising arm of the Art Gallery of WA.  

Michael Brand has been re-appointed as the Director of the Art Gallery of NSW. NSW Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin announced the re-appointment, ‘In 2016/17 the Gallery recorded its highest attendance figures ever, including overall visitation of nearly 1.6 million people. I look forward to continuing our strong growth while nurturing the role we play as part of Australia’s national culture,’

In Festivals

Next Wave Festival in Melbourne was in full swing, taking over venues across greater Melbourne to showcase some of the most exciting and experimental emerging artists. This was also Georgie Meagher's last Next Wave as Artistic Director.


Adelaide Fringe has appointed Bradley Rush as the new Head of Industry and Artist Fund. Rush brings extensive experience in executive arts management and regional touring to his new role at Adelaide Fringe, in charge of the Honey Pot arts industry marketplace and the Adelaide Fringe Artist Fund.


Jonathan Holloway is stepping down from the position of Artistic Director of Melbourne Festival at the end of 2019.


Perth Festival has appointed composer, Iain Grandage as the new Artistic Director. He will take over from Wendy Martin after the 2019 Festival.

NYC&MEL festival is about to start in Melbourne. A New York themed arts and entertainment festival including performances from musician, Regina Spektor and Broad City’s Ilana Glazer. There will also be New York chefs cooking New York foods. The whole festival is centred around the NGV’s exhibition MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art.


The lineup for the BlakMarkets, “The National Indigenous NAIDOC Art Fair” has been announced. The fair brings Indigenous artists from across the nation, mainly regional and remote areas, to Sydney to exhibit, sell and host workshops demonstrating their unique arts and cultural practices.


Pop artist Robert Indiana, best known for his 1960s “LOVE” series, has passed away aged 89