Composer-pianist Yitzhak Yedid and actor Mark Leonard Winter are among 10 artists to receive a $160,000 grant.
Ten artists from across Australia have been named as Sidney Myer Creative Fellows for 2017. They are playwright Angela Betzien (NSW), theatre maker Emily Tomlins (Vic), filmmaker Genevieve Clay-Smith (NSW), visual artist Hiromi Tango (NSW), creative producer, facilitator and practitioner Jade Lillie (Vic) for Cultural Community Arts and Development; visual artist Julia deVille (Vic), dancer Kyle Page (Qld); actor Mark Leonard Winter (Vic), singer-songwriter Megan Washington (Qld), and composer and improvising pianist Yitzhak Yedid (Qld).
Each Fellow will receive an unrestricted grant of $160,000. The Fellowships are not tied to any specific outcome but provide an income over a two-year period to give the recipient the freedom to develop their creative practice without financial pressure.
Established in 2011 by the Sidney Myer Fund as one of a raft of initiatives to enrich the cultural life of Australia, the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowships have to date awarded over $10 million to 65 mid-career artists. To be nominated for a Fellowship, applicants must be between seven and 15 years into their creative practice and meet two criteria: outstanding talent and exceptional professional courage. The Fellowships are open to artists and arts managers across the entire spectrum of the visual, performing, interdisciplinary, new media and literary arts.
In a media statement announcing the Fellowships, Emily Tomlins said: “It feels more important than ever, right now, for artists to be independent. This doesn’t mean ‘not responsible” – it means being able to really take up the true responsibility that we have, to reflect and create something that speaks calmly and accurately; taking time and thought, so as to honour the time and thought our audiences give us.”
“It is also increasingly difficult,” continued Tomlins. “Australia boasts an extraordinary pool of talent, creativity and innovation; and yet getting support to do the work that speaks to our shared future is still limited. This, more than anything, is why Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship is an incredible initiative. It recognises what it takes, and what it will take, to sustain and develop our culture. I am incredibly grateful for such an opportunity; to expand my horizons as an artist and a theatre-maker, and as an advocate for independence of thought and action.”