Kai Wasikowski has received the prestigious Schenberg Art Fellowship among a field of 35 top graduates selected from 23 tertiary art schools across Australia.
Kai Wasikowski is the first SCA graduate to receive the $40,000 fellowship, which is presented each year to the most outstanding artist in the annual Hatched: National Graduate Show at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA).
The 2017 winner was announced on opening night of Hatched at PICA on 5 May. Commenting on the win, Kai Wasikowski said: “Becoming a Schenberg Fellow provides an incredible opportunity to expand and deepen the scope of my artistic practice and research.
“I’m thrilled by the possibilities of travel, the time to explore new environments and histories, and the ability to build and strengthen relationships within creative spaces both familiar and unfamiliar.
“The generous and momentous support of the Fellowship is a real privilege and a huge encouragement to keep pushing my own expectations and capabilities as an artist and a member of the local and international art community,” he said.
The annual fellowship was set up eight years ago by the trustees of the Dr Harold Schenberg bequest in the name of the renowned West Australian art collector and philanthropist. The significant cash prize is designed to be used by the winner to invest in the development of their art practice.
Kai Wasikowski earned the fellowship for his two Honours works, ‘In-tension’ and ‘Looking with a forked tongue’, exhibited in Hatched at PICA until 18 June.
"I’ve always loved seeing the work selected in previous years of Hatched. Having your work acknowledged is always special and getting to show it at PICA, and in the context of Hatched, is an amazing opportunity for an artist just out of art school,” he added.
The selection process for Hatched, now in its 26th year, is also rigorous. Students are nominated by their art school with the final selection made by an industry panel. Fellow SCA graduate Lottie Sebes is also among the 35 finalists in this year’s Hatched.
Kai Wasikowski completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts at SCA in 2016 receiving First Class Honours with the University Medal. He also received the 2016 Dean’s Award for Honours and the Artereal Gallery Mentoring Award.
“Kai thoroughly merits the award of this prestigious fellowship for the country’s top visual arts graduate. The award recognises Kai’s exceptional talent, and we look forward to watching his further development as a multi-disciplinary artist,” said Professor Margaret Harris, Acting Dean of SCA, University of Sydney.