Prestigious Schenberg art and music fellowships awarded

26 May 2021 | 4 mins

This month, we have seen the announcement of the recipients of the 2021 Schenberg Art Fellowship and Schenberg Music Fellowships – prestigious awards supported by the bequest of one our most generous philanthropic supporters, the late Dr Harold Schenberg. You can read more about Dr Schenberg further below.

Schenberg Art Fellowship: Top national award for emerging artists

On Friday 7 May, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA) launched their annual Hatched National Graduate Exhibition. This was the 30th year for Hatched – and the 12th year of the Schenberg Art Fellowship – awarded to one exceptional Hatched artist. The $50,000 prize is by far the most significant national award for emerging artists, and allows the winner to invest in the development of their practice.

The 2021 Schenberg Art Fellow is Yul Scarf, for their works HomeBuilder Scheme (new build or renovate) (2020), This Remains 100% Aboriginal Land (2020), The Department of Homo Affairs (2020), and COLONIAL VIRUS (2020).

Yul Scarf is a multi-disciplinary artist motivated by radical political change. Their commemorative ceramic objects interrogate the colonial structures we inherit and the futures that are possible in the ruins. 

Yul Scarf photo by Bo Wong
Hatched artist Yul Scarf with their work 2020: Still Digesting, 2020, and Homebuilder Scheme (rebuild or renovate), 2020. Hatched: National Graduate Show 2021, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA), 2021. Photograph: Bo Wong.

Fellowship judges Amy Barrett-Lennard (Director, PICA), Sally Quin (Curator, UWA Art Collection), and Patrice Sharkey (Artistic Director, ACE Open): “Yul’s multi-dimensional work draws clever links between history, contemporary culture and activism in a way that encourages us to question the past and re-imagine our future. Through an expanded use of ceramics, installation and QR codes, the artist takes us on a compelling journey through time and space.”

Hatched runs at PICA until 11 July.

Schenberg Music Fellowship: Supporting emerging composers

The Schenberg Music Fellowship creates the opportunity for emerging artists to further their studies in composition, either interstate or overseas. The gift of travel may well have been inspired by Dr Schenberg’s own experiences of studying in locations such as Melbourne, Sydney, London and New York.

The 2021 Schenberg Music Fellows are Olivia Davies and Victor Arul.

Olivia Bettina Davies is an Australian composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music that spans multiple genres including classical minimalism, experimental and ambient. Davies’ compositions often explore ideas of space, stasis and flow, resulting in soundworlds that are texturally-driven and nuanced.

Olivia Bettina Davies by Alexandra Cohen Photography2021 Schenberg Music Fellow Olivia Bettina Davies. Photograph: Alexandra Cohen Photography.

Victor Arul is a composer currently studying under Elliott Gyger at the University of Melbourne. His compositional thinking is invested in distorting the conceptual lenses of pre-20th century Western art musics in order to synthesise distinct modernist soundworlds.

Victor Arul by Sam Jozeps2021 Schenberg Music Fellow Victor Arul. Photograph: Sam Jozeps.

Dr Harold Schenberg

Dr Harold Schenberg was a respected Western Australian dermatologist, renowned art collector and philanthropist. In his own words, Dr Schenberg had an “absolute zest” for living, and viewed every day as a cause for celebration. His many friends described him as a colourful man, due not only to his vibrant personality, but also his bright wardrobe. He once explained that he believed colour represented happiness – and there was a lot of it in his life.

Dr Schenberg filled his Matilda Bay home with things that made him happy, such as art and music, and he took great joy in sharing these with others. An accomplished jazz pianist, Dr Schenberg entertained many over the years with renditions of his favourite Cole Porter and Gershwin tunes.

While his extensive art collection was a great source of personal joy for him, he also delighted in giving pieces away. The University of Western Australia (UWA) is a significant beneficiary of Dr Schenberg’s generosity.

Dr Schenberg’s relationship with UWA started in 1948, when he was a first-year medical student. Later in life when asked about his time at the University in those early days, he said he “loved every minute of it!” Although he completed his studies interstate (as a full degree in Medicine wasn’t offered at that time), his affiliation with UWA continued throughout his lifetime.

In 1969 he enrolled in Music, but had to withdraw owing to the workload at his busy practice. In 2000, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters from UWA, in recognition of his “distinguished services and contribution to the Arts”.

Dr Schenberg died that same year, but even now, two decades later, he continues to enrich the Arts at UWA through his contribution. His bequest, one of the most generous bequests to arts and culture in our State, continues to support his passions in so many ways, including through the Schenberg Art Fellowship, and the Schenberg Music Fellowship.

Media references

Milos Vaskovic, Development Manager – Bequests, 08 6488 7467

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