Newly appointed CAPO patron Patricia Piccinini decided to become involved with the organisation in part due to her experiences having once been an emerging artist herself.
Piccinini understands just how valuable the philanthropic work of an organisation like CAPO is to the artistic community and is aligned with them; assisting up-and-coming artists is a cause close to her heart.
“I know when I was a young artist these grants were really important and I made them go so far.
“It’s also the validation; you go ‘oh, they value what I do, they recognise my voice is important’, and you can’t put a value on that, it’s really important,” Piccinini says.
The Gala opening of the CAPO Emerging Artists’ Prize exhibition on Friday 20 July saw visual artist Bryan Foong announced as winner of the prize.
His work Light offer, though enthusiastic is exhibited at the ANU School of Art and Design Foyer Gallery as part of the display.
Foong was praised by judges Kirsten Farrell and Peter Jones for his work’s high level of conceptual and technical sophistication.
Speaking to Canberra Weekly at the Gala, Piccinini says she stepped into her new role after Paul McDermott recently retired from the position.
“(CAPO President Penny Jurkiewicz) asked if I wanted to take on the job and I said ‘I’d love to’; I have a real soft spot and warmth in my heart for Canberra.
“I also believe the work they do is very important because they connect people who are interested in the arts with artists,” she says.
“They don’t just hand out money; they go out to talk to people in the community who are interested in the arts and might not know how to get involved, and bring them in and allow them to support art making.”
Piccinini says she was excited to meet everyone from the organisation, get involved and see what potential there is for her to help.
“I have some presence so I want to explore how I can use that to support other artists, and also this mechanism for bringing other people together.”
Having grown up in Canberra and studied at ANU School of Art and Design, Piccinini, now based in Melbourne, says Canberra is a fantastic spot for artists to base themselves.
“Canberra is a place where you can really focus … it’s a place where there’s a lot of nature, it’s surrounded by it and for me nature’s very inspiring.
“What Canberra can really offer people is a fantastic community, and that’s always been the case.
“Thirty years ago when I was a student here there weren’t many places to go so we’d go to each other’s houses.
“That’s something that brings people together, creates networks and really great relationships … and you need that to produce really great work,” she says.
Curator of the CAPO Emerging Artists’ Prize exhibition Angus McGrath says he looked to assemble a series of works across a number of media and styles, including painting, objects, assemblage and text.
He also wanted to frame the practices of the emerging artists within the context of the present moment.
“The feeling toward the future and the present is quite anxious; people feel quite unstable and I think that is how a lot of us feel as recent graduates.”
McGrath, an Art History and Curatorship graduate, was invited to curate the exhibition as part of his prize for winning the coveted CAPO Curatorial Internship Award for 2018.
The CAPO Emerging Artists’ Prize exhibition is on display at the ANU School of Art and Design Foyer Gallery until 31 July.
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