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Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship

Mitch Cairns wins 2012 Scholarship

Mitch Cairns Poor Mum 2012, oil on linen and One half of a woman’s waistline repeated 2012, oil on linen

13 September 2012: Mitch Cairns, 28, from Balmain, Sydney, has won the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship for his body of work, highlighted by One half of a woman’s waistline repeated 2012 and Poor Mum 2012.

Begun in 1999, this scholarship for young Australian painters is now in its 14th year. Ninety five entries were received from around Australia and eleven were selected as finalists. Their work is featured on the Brett Whiteley Studio website. A small selection of the finalists is on display at the Studio until 25 November (except 24 September – 12 October).

Mitch Cairns won the Gruner Landscape Prize in 2003 and featured in the Salon de Refuses in 2004 whilst a student at the National Art School from which he graduated in 2006 with honours. He has been included in numerous group exhibitions in artist run spaces and public galleries including Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery, Campbelltown Arts Centre and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. He is represented by BREENSPACE, Sydney.

This year’s judges were artist Del Kathryn Barton and the Gallery’s head of Australian art, Wayne Tunnicliffe. Commenting on the work of Mitch Cairns, Del Kathryn Barton said Mitch’s curious, lyrical, figurative works are not only compelling visually, they reveal developed skill-sets vital to the mad adventure of making paintings! The sensitivity of surface, composition and of paint within these works reflect a disciplined and conceptually passionate practice.

This year the judges have also noted that Tom Polo, 27, from Smithfield, Sydney be Highly Commended.

Mrs Beryl Whiteley, who died in 2010, was awarded an OAM for the creation and endowment of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship in 2004. The inspiration for this annual scholarship was the profound effect of international travel and study experienced by her son, Brett Whiteley, as a result of winning the Italian Government Travelling Art Scholarship at the age of 20.

The Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship is open to Australian artists aged between 20 and 30 years. Mitch Cairns has won $25 000 and a three-month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, which is administered by the Art Gallery of NSW.

The Brett Whiteley Studio is managed by the Art Gallery of NSW.

Principal sponsor
J.P. Morgan

Brett Whiteley Studio
2 Raper Street
Surry Hills 2010, Sydney, Australia
Tel 02 9225 1744 or 02 9225 1881
Fri, Sat & Sun, 10am – 4pm


Media contact

Susanne Briggs
Tel 02 9225 1791
Mob 0412 268 320