COFA student Belem Lett has won the sought-after Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship for his work, refraction 2.0.

The 23-year-old Master of Fine Arts student will follow in the footsteps of Whiteley, who travelled overseas as a young artist.

Belem receives $25,000 and a three-month residency in Paris. He won the prestigious award from a field of 99 young artists from around Australia.

The judges for the 2010 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship were artist, Angus Nivison, Art Gallery of New South Wales Director, Edmund Capon and Barry Pearce, the Gallery's Head Curator of Australian Art.

Lett grew up with his artist mother who created opportunities for him to explore various methods of art making from calligraphy, Japanese ink brush painting, wood carving and drawing.

"A strong interest in the quality of the drawn mark persists throughout my practice today," says Belem. "At present I am investigating the urban landscape as one which is under constant construction. I am interested in the industrial and the connection between the way we build the environment around us and the way in which we can construct an image of this space within the medium of drawing and painting."

Mrs Beryl Whiteley was awarded an OAM for the creation and endowment of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, which is now in its 12th year. The inspiration for this annual scholarship was the profound effect of international travel and study experienced by her son, Brett Whiteley, as a result of winning the Italian Travelling Art Scholarship at the age of 20.

The Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship is open to Australian artists aged between 20 and 30 years and is administered by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Lett's winning work is on show at the Brett Whiteley Studio in Sydney.

Media contact: Susi Hamilton, UNSW media, 9385 1583 or 0422 934 024