Honorary awards

Guy Wilkie Warren OAM

The degree of Doctor of Visual Arts (honoris causa) was conferred upon Guy Wilkie Warren OAM at the Sydney College of the Arts graduation ceremony held at 9.30am on 13 April 2007.

Guy Wilkie Warren

Guy Warren (standing) with Professor William Robert (Jim) Allen, Associate Professor Helge Larsen and Darani Lewers, Doctor of Visual Arts (honoris causa), photo, cpyright Memento Photography.

Guy Warren, Jim Allen, Colin Rhodes, Darani Lewers and Helge Larsen

With the Dean of Sydney College of the Arts, Professor Colin Rhodes (centre) are (from left) Guy Warren, Professor Jim Allen, Darani Lewers and Associate Professor Helge Larsen, photo, courtesy University of Sydney News.


Chancellor, I have the honour of presenting Guy Warren OAM, for admission to the degree of Doctor of Visual Arts (honoris causa) in recognition of his outstanding creative achievement in the visual arts, his standing in his professional field and in acknowledgement of his founding role as an educator at Sydney College of the Arts.

Guy Warren was born in Goulburn, New South Wales in 1921. In 1935, at the age of fourteen, he left school to work as a proof reader’s assistant on The Bulletin in Sydney. Between the years 1941 and 1946 he saw extensive war service in Australia and New Guinea, an experience that deeply influenced his painting.

He studied at the National Art School, Sydney as part of the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Training Scheme, followed by studies at the Chelsea School of Art and the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London.

From 1966 and 1973, Guy tutored in the School of Architecture at the University of Sydney and in the Department of Industrial Design at the University of New South Wales. From 1969 he shared in the establishment and development of the Tin Sheds Arts Workshop at the University of Sydney, and from 1973 to 1976 was its first full-time Director, as Senior Lecturer, while continuing to teach in the Faculty of Architecture. A portrait, painted by Warren, of Peter Johnson, Professor of Architecture for many years, hangs in the University’s Collection.

Guy Warren was an important and influential advocate for the establishment of a new school of contemporary visual arts and design in Sydney. For several years he served on the planning committee, which oversaw the development of a proposed new college to be called The Sydney College of the Arts. In January 1976 he was appointed Principal Lecturer and Foundation Head of the Painting Department at that new College - positions he held from 1976 to 1985.

He has a long exhibition record of solo and group shows in both commercial and public galleries and museums and is represented in numerous public, private, University and corporate collections internationally. These include, to list but a few, The Australian National Gallery, all Australian State Galleries and most Regional Galleries, Parliament House, Art Bank, The Royal Institute of Architects, The Taipei Fine Arts Museum in Taiwan and the National Library, Beijing, in the People’s Republic of China.

He has been the recipient of numerous prizes, awards and residencies including the Archibald Prize in 1985 and the bronze medal in the 4th International Triennale of Drawing in Poland. He has been the recipient of Australia Council and British Council Travel and Special Project grants, the Dyason bequest and the Flotta Lauro Travelling Art Prize.

His work has been extensively written about in various national and international art journals and newspapers and a monograph on his work was published in 2004. He was Director of the University of Wollongong Art Collection from 1993 to 2005 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Creative Arts from the University of Wollongong in 1998.

Guy Warren’s place is confirmed as one of the significant Australian artists of the 20th century - and a continuing force into the 21st century. Of his most recent works, 85 year old Warren has said ‘they are my best paintings yet’, a view also shared by our most prominent visual arts commentators!

His remarkable life reflects a profound commitment to his own art and the arts generally – in 1999 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to the Australian art community.

Chancellor, I have great pleasure in presenting, artist and educator, Guy Wilkie Warren, for admission to the degree of Doctor of Visual Arts (honoris causa) and I invite you to confer the degree upon him.