Posted: October 24, 2022 / News

Patricia Marrfurra McTaggart AM, ‘Fish Net (Walipan)’, Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2022. Photo Charlotte Curd

Perpetual and Sculpture by the Sea are delighted to announce that acclaimed Indigenous artist Patricia Marrfurra McTaggart AM will receive this year’s $30,000 Helen Lempriere Scholarship.

The Helen Lempriere Scholarships are designed to enable artists to further their artistic development through travel, study and the purchase of important new equipment while supporting their inclusion in Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi.

The scholarships are gifted as part of the Helen Lempriere Bequest, a charitable trust managed by Perpetual, providing scholarships with the aim to foster and promote contemporary Australian sculpture. The Helen Lempriere Bequest has provided over $2 million in funding support for Australian artists since the trust was established in 1996.

Due to the postponement of Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi in 2020 and 2021, the works of previously announced Helen Lempriere Scholarship recipients Marina DeBris (2021), Stephen King (2020), Andrew Townsend (2020) and Jina Lee (2020) will also be on display at this year’s exhibition, which is set to transform the spectacular 2km Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk from 21 October – 7 November.

Patricia Marrfurra McTaggart AM is an artist, linguist, teacher and author who lives with her family in Nauiyu in the Northern Territory. She received an Order of Australia for her work in preserving language and ethno-botany in the Daly River area and has co-authored seven books on the subject. This will be Patricia’s first time exhibiting at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi

Patricia will exhibit a Merrepen fibre sculpture titled ‘Fish Net (Walipan)’, based on nets traditionally used for fishing in the community of Nauiyu, situated on the Daly River, one of the largest rivers in the Northern Territory. The fish nets are now made to remind local people of their history and culture, to teach young local woman how to weave and dye Merrepen fibre, and to teach others about traditional indigenous culture.

The scholarship will be used to fund Patricia’s travel to Sydney to install ‘Fish Net (Walipan)’ at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi with the help of her youngest son, Kieren Karritpul, considered one of the most significant young indigenous artists of his generation. While in Sydney, Patricia will visit and study the First Nations Collection in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, including works from the community at Nauiyu. The scholarship will also enable Patricia to travel to Canberra to visit the collections at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the National Gallery of Australia, including the writings and photographs of William Edward Stanner, who made many recordings of life and events in the community of Nauiyu.

Patricia commented, “It is an honour for me to accept the Helen Lempriere Scholarship to progress my artistic and academic practice. The scholarship will allow me access to study many works, including those from the community of Nauiyu such as my mother’s fishing net and bag; barks of Charlie Madigan and Nym Bunduck; and the writings and photographs of William Edward Stanner, who interviewed both my father and grandfather.”

Sculpture by the Sea Founding & Artistic Director, David Handley AM, said, “Thank you to Patricia for exhibiting in Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi. It is a long way from Nauiyu and we are delighted you are making the journey to reconnect with artworks from your community held in public collections in Sydney and Canberra.”

Perpetual’s National Manager – Philanthropy & Non Profit Services, Jane Magor, said: “We are delighted to help continue the legacy of Helen Lempriere, made possible by the philanthropic aim of Helen’s late husband, Keith Wood, to honor his wife.

“Helen’s dedication to the Australian art community was profound, and the Bequest is a true reflection of the enduring support and passion Helen had for the Australian art industry. On behalf of Perpetual I would like to congratulate this year’s winner, Patricia Marrfurra McTaggart OAM, as well as the recipients of the 2020 and 2021 scholarships, who’s work will also be on display at this year’s event.”

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