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The Faculty of the VCA and Music (VCAM) and Wallara Asset Management last night announced that Christopher Dolman has won the prestigious 2009 Wallara Travelling Scholarship. Every year since 2001, this scholarship is open to third (final) year undergraduate students at the Faculty’s School of Art.

The Wallara Travelling Scholarship is an acquisitive award that provides the winner with a unique opportunity for travel to stimulate their work and practice.  The winning work is acquired by Wallara Asset Management for its collection.

The judges for this year’s award were Peter Wetherall (Managing Director, Wallara Asset Management), Alex Baker (Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Victoria), Su Baker (Head of School of Art, VCAM) and Bala Starr (Curator, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne).

Christopher Dolman is a Printmaking student. He intends to use the scholarship funds to travel to England, to attend a major retrospective of the artist John Baldessari at the Tate Modern, and to China for the 2010 Biennale in Beijing. 

Christopher’s work is based on ecological and environmental issues.  In his application for this award Christopher encapsulated the essence of his proposed travels thus: "There is nothing more important in learning how to make one’s own work, than studying a master’s, first hand."

Peter Wetherall, Managing Director of Wallara Asset Management, commented: "Wallara is proud of its nine year association with the School of Art in offering the Wallara Travelling Scholarship.  This Scholarship has provided a valuable opportunity for talented young artists to travel overseas and be inspired to achieve their full creative potential.  The quality of works on display is once again of a very high standard and Christopher Dolman is a most worthy recipient of this year’s award."

Associate Professor Su Baker, Head of the School of Art, added: "The judges unanimously agreed Christopher Dolman’s work is an elegant and expert blend of the mediums of Painting, Drawing and Printmaking traditions, bringing together the textured presence of painting and offset qualities of print media. The work is intelligently understood as being part of the proud modernist tradition hovering between abstraction and a sense of pictorial space. We are delighted that this excellent member of the student community, one who contributes to many aspects of the school life, has now been rewarded with this wonderful travel opportunity."

Special guest Jason Smith, Director of Heide Museum of Modern Art, invoked the memory of the late John Brack who was appointed Head of the National Gallery School in 1962 and who commenced an important transformation of the school and its courses that advocated professional practice and the seriousness of an artist's vocation. 

In complimenting the exhibition and the work of the students Jason Smith quoted esteemed graduate of the School, Susan Norrie: "I feel that artists are often a barometer of events in the world and can synthesize both socio/political and environmental concerns with powerful visual encapsulations."

An exhibition of work from all 2009 scholarship finalists will be on show at the Margaret Lawrence Gallery until Friday 4 September.

This year’s finalists were Ramona Angelico, Nicole Breedon, Maggie Brown, Jenny Chang, Christopher Dolman, Jack Douglas, Matthew Greaves, Leo Greenfield, Tessa McDonnell, Seijiro Nishioka, Jules Renton, Madeline Sharrock, Dylan Statham, Brooke Williams.

The Wallara Travelling Scholarship 2009 Exhibition
12 noon - 5pm, until Friday 4 September
Margaret Lawrence Gallery, 40 Dodds Street, Southbank. T: 03/ 9685 9400