Award Winners: Diego Bonetto - Art Collector

Issue 47, January - March 2009

This profile appeared in the "Award Winners" feature, part of the annual special issue "50 Things Collectors Need to Know 2009"

In October the Minister Assisting the Premier on the Arts, Virginia Judge awarded Diego Bonetto with the 2008 Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship in a presentation ceremony at Artspace in Woolloomooloo, Sydney. The scholarship bestowed on Bonetto is comprised of $35,000 from the New South Wales Government and $25,000 from the Helen Lempriere Bequest. The value of the award increased this year, making it one of the richest prizes in Australia presented to emerging contemporary visual artists.

According to the Artspace website, “the scholarship provides assistance to enable an artist at the outset of his or her career to study art overseas for one to two years at a recognised art institution or to undertake a study program of workshops and study with an artist.”

The prize has enabled a number of emerging artists to expand their practice through travel and research. Acclaimed artists such as Bronwyn Oliver, Emil Goh, Tony Schwensen, Ms & Mr, Claire Healy & Sean Cordeiro are just some of the previous recipients of the scholarship.

With the $60,000 scholarship money Bonetto intends to travel to Biella, Italy, to participate in the Unidee in residence program established in Cittadellarte by Michelangello Pistoletto.

The judging panel, which included senior Museum of Contemporary Art curator Rachel Kent and critically acclaimed artist Susan Norrie, said of Bonetto’s winning entry in a media release: “Bonetto’s work is a barometer of our times, exploring nature, fragility, sustainability and how we integrate ourselves in the natural environment. The work is particularly apt at this point in time with what is going on ecologically, economically and politically.”

As a member of the underground art community in Sydney, Bonetto says he was “very surprised about winning the scholarship. I did not expect an understood criteria of selection to be challenged as such.”

Regardless, Bonetto is now firmly on the radar of the art establishment.

Carrie Miller

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