Southlands Breakthrough Award
Photo / Victoria Garcia

Southlands Breakthrough Award

Thanks to the support of Southlands, Penrith Performing & Visual Arts been running the Southlands Breakthrough Awards for the past two years.

Each year three awards of $5000 each, along with an assigned mentor artist, are offered to artists working in the areas of music, visual arts, theatre or a combination of these. For the frist time, in 2018 one award has been reserved for a First Nation artist – this recipient was Amala Groom.

Curators, producers and directors are also encouraged to submit proposals for projects. Artists whose practice defies artform categorisation, sitting at the intersection of artforms or who are particularly interested in community impact and access are also encouraged to apply.

This is an opportunity for early career artists – within their first five years of practice – to develop a new idea, concept, draft, composition, recording, design or outcome for a project.

Each year the Award recipients share the results of their work at an Open Studio event onstage in The Joan’s Q Theatre. The artists – Aanisa Vylet, Victoria Garcia and Blush Opera (2017); and Monikka Eliah, Amala Groom and Krystie Steve (2018) – have continued to find opportunity to develop and present their work both within Penrith Performing & Visual Arts and beyond.

Victoria Garcia’s artwork is currently part of The Ideal Home and also featured in Landing Points, on exhibition in Penrith Regional Gallery; while the new play Aanisa Vylet developed with her Award – The Woman – was programmed as part of the National Theatre of Parramatta’s 2018 season. Blush Opera continues the development of Chop Chef, their satirical opera based on television cooking competitions. In 2019 Amala Groom will also work on a project with Penrith Regional Gallery.

In 2018 the program advanced further, bringing on board three high profile mentors who worked with each recipient as they developed their work: Wesley Enoch – theatre, Salote Tawale– visual arts and Paul Mac – music.

“The team at The Joan are generous, understanding and respectful of every artist that walks into that centre. With such generosity from Southlands and spirit, I was able to do what I needed to do with the Breakthrough program, with no judgement or heavy expectation of an outcome. This is an important thing for me as an artist, especially when I was experimenting with certain provocations in my work. The award gave the unique opportunity to “take my time” and explore my writing and practice and more importantly – the financial support from Southlands and the staff at the Joan provided me with the space to create and dream big…” – Breakthrough 2017 recipient Aanisa Vylet

Watch this space for further information on 2019…