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Glenda Nicholls awarded 2020 Hutchinson Indigenous Fellowship

Image Glenda Nicholls, 2020 Hutchinson Indigenous Fellow. Photo courtesy University of Melbourne

A master weaver whose sculptural work connects the present with the ancient past

We were delighted to learn that Victorian artist, Glenda Nicholls, was awarded the 2020 Hutchinson Indigenous Fellowship. This Fellowship aligns with a major commission, Miwi Milloo (Good spirit of the Murray River) in 2020 as part of the National Gallery of Victoria’s (NGV) Triennial exhibition opening in December, where the University of Melbourne is Research Partner. Triennial Major Supporter Lisa Fox has supported this commission and enabled the acquisition of Ms Nicholl’s work for the NGV Collection.

Glenda is a Waddi Waddi, Ngarrindjeri and Yorta Yorta artist based in the Swan Hill region of Victoria. She is a master weaver who constructs elaborate sculptural work that connects the present with the ancient past. In her work Ms Nicholls applies cultural weaving techniques alongside intimate knowledge of the waterways, river plants and grasses on her ancestral Country.

“This fellowship will help me to keep telling stories of everyday life happenings of mine and my family, friends, work, community and COVID-19. Like so many others I’ve been affected emotionally and physically by current events and these themes will be intertwined and woven into my artwork,” Ms Nicholls said.

The Fellowship was established at the University of Melbourne in 2014 in recognition of HMSTrust’s then Chair, Darvell Hutchinson AM, following his retirement after 50 years as a trustee. The Fellowship supports the artistic practice of an Indigenous artist based in Victoria. Awarded annually and valued at $45,000, it includes a one-year residency at the University of Melbourne.

University of Melbourne Vice-President (Strategy and Culture) Dr Julie Wells said Ms Nicholls joins a growing list of Indigenous artists bringing their work, knowledge and experience to a wider audience.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Trust we look forward to welcoming Glenda during her fellowship at the University. Glenda’s time with us will offer many learning and research opportunities,” Dr Wells said.

Glenda was interviewed by ABC Mildura in October about her weaving practice, the Fellowship and how much she is looking forward to taking up the opportunity to engage with the University and undertake more research about indigenous women artists and weaving once the work is completed and installed.

The 2020 selection panel for the Hutchinson Indigenous Fellowship included Professor Marcia Langton, Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne and Mr Myles Russell‐Cook, Curator of Indigenous Art at the National Gallery of Victoria. Previous awardees are: Tiriki Onus (2014), Josh Muir (2015) and James Henry Little (2016). The fellowship was not awarded 2017 – 2019.