The Art Gallery of New South Wales recently announced UNSW Art & Design alumnus Tom Polo the winner of the 2015 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship.

The prestigious Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship provides a young Australian painter the opportunity to spend a three-month residency at one of the Art Gallery of NSW’s studios at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, and up to a further three months travelling throughout Europe to further their art education. The annual scholarship awards the recipient with a generous stipend – this year valued at $30 000 - to support living and travel expenses while in Europe.

Open to Australian painters aged between 20 and 30 years, the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship was established by the late Beryl Whiteley in 1999. The Scholarship commemorates the profound effect international travel and study had on her son, renowned Australian artist Brett Whiteley, who won the Italian Government Travelling Art Scholarship at the age of 20.

This year’s judges were 2014 Archibald Prize winner and A&D Master of Fine Arts student Fiona Lowry and the Art Gallery of NSW’s Head Curator of Australian Art and A&D alumnus Wayne Tunnicliffe.

Lowry said she was drawn to the poetical nature of Polo’s paintings and is excited to see how his practice develops after his time in Paris.

“Tom’s work illuminates anxieties and failures in a most beautiful way. His practice is well developed and he has a deep knowledge of what he wants to talk about as an artist. This direction and understanding will only grow further through spending time in the cultural melting pot that is Paris,” Lowry said.

“I have no doubt that embarking on this wonderful opportunity at this point in his life, Tom will see his career go from strength to strength," Lowry added.

Polo said it is a surprise and great honour to be awarded the 2015 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, after being a finalist in both 2012 and 2013.

“This scholarship will afford me dedicated time and space to focus on my practice and its development, while surrounded by the wealth of culture and influence Paris offers. I look forward to undertaking research at some of France’s most significant collections and galleries and it's exciting that I'll have the opportunity to extend this to the rest of Europe after my residency, too,” Polo said.

Polo’s win comes after a number of recent successes for other UNSW A&D alumni especially Master of Fine Arts graduate Nigel Milson’s Archibald 2015 win for his portrait of barrister Charles Waterstreet, titled Judo house pt 6 (the white bird) and Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate Jason Phu was announced the winner of The Sir John Sulman Prize for his work I was at yum cha when in rolled the three severed heads of Buddha: Fear, Malice and Death.

The painting All she needs from Polo’s winning body of work is currently on display at the Brett Whiteley Studio until 13 Sep 2015, alongside works by finalists A&D alumna Clara Adolphs, Jordan Richardson (Highly Commended),  Sally Anderson, Natasha Bieniek (also winner of the 2015 Wynne Prize), Annalisa Ferraris and Matilda Julian.

See Tom Polo in person

On 29 August 2015 join artists Tom Polo and Aleks Danko at the MCA in a special masterclass for teachers responding to the major survey exhibition Aleks Danko: MY FELLOW AUS-TRA-ALIENS. Be part of a collaborative art-making experience sure to involve new ways of seeing and creating.