The National Art School Fellowship acknowledges the achievements of eminent visual artists, arts administrators, writers, advocates and academics who have made outstanding contributions to the visual arts community in Australia. The Fellowship is an honorary award for exceptional achievement and / or service within the professional domain, awarded annually by the National Art School.
The 2019 recipients of National Art School Fellowships have been announced, with the honour bestowed upon Roslyn Oxley OAM and Wendy Whiteley OAM.
The 2019 Fellows were honoured at a celebratory dinner on Thursday 23 May 2019, held at the National Art School in a gallery space that was once the studio of celebrated Australian sculptor and NAS teacher, Rayner Hoff.
Presented at the annual Graduation ceremony alongside completing Bachelor and Master of Fine Art students, the Fellowship is the School’s highest award.
Oxley’s award was presented after a citation from Olivia Sophia, Curator, Exhibitions at the National Art School. Whiteley’s citation was presented by Deborah Beck, Archivist and Collection Manager at the National Art School.
Roslyn Oxley OAM
One of Australia’s most respected and influential gallerists and art dealers, Roslyn Oxley studied art and design at East Sydney Tech, which became the National Art School, from 1957 to 1960. Since she opened Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in 1982 with her husband Tony Oxley, the Paddington gallery has fostered an eminent list of Australian contemporary art names, including Tracey Moffatt, David Noonan, Fiona Hall, Patricia Piccinini, Hany Armanious, Rosalie Gascoigne and Bill Henson. Thirteen Roslyn Oxley9 artists have represented Australia at the Venice Biennale.
The Gallery has hosted shows by cutting-edge international talent such as Mark Newson, Robert Mapplethorpe, Tracey Emin, Isaac Julien and Yayoi Kusama. In January 2013, Oxley was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her services to the visual arts and the community.
“My decision to persuade my parents to leave school at the age of 15 was fully vindicated when I joined East Sydney Tech as the National Art School was known then. A whole new world opened up for me that was stimulating, useful and rewarding. This was the
beginning of my professional life.” – Roslyn Oxley, 2019
Wendy Whiteley OAM
Whiteley has been a renowned presence on the Australian art scene since the 1960s, with her then husband Brett Whiteley. After travelling the world, the couple settled back in Sydney in Lavender Bay, where Whiteley still lives. After the death of Brett and their daughter Arkie, she created an extraordinary garden on derelict land, now known as Wendy’s Secret Garden. She is the custodian of Brett’s estate, establishing the Brett Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills as an art museum after his death in 1992, and overseeing the annual Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, which celebrated its 20th year in 2019 with an exhibition at S.H.Ervin Gallery, Millers Point.
Whiteley received a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2009 for “service to the community through the establishment and maintenance of a public garden at Lavender Bay, and as a supporter of the visual arts”.
“I had to run away from home to go to art school, my parents were worried about me being a starving artist and not finishing high school properly, but it was an exciting start of a new life for me. I loved my teachers, John Passmore and Lyndon Dadswell, but I left to support Brett, then later went back at night to study interior design. I don’t think you can be taught to be an artist, but you can be taught the techniques you need. Art school is a great place to grow up.” – Wendy Whiteley, 2019