Searching for soul

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on October 7, 2018

ANCIENT Irish archaeological sites and the Baltics are on the list of places to visit for Albany sculptor Kevin Draper following his win of a $30,000 art scholarship.

Draper is one of three artists to receive the Helen Lempriere Scholarship, an award designed to enable artists to further their artistic development through travel, study and the purchase of new equipment.

The money is also to be used to support the artists’ inclusion in Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi which begins on October 14.

Draper won the scholarship as a mid-career artist, alongside emerging artist Britt Mikkelsen and senior artist Hossein Valamanesh.

Draper began the year with his black-and-white 16-branch tree sculpture Configuration featuring in the Cottesloe Sculpture by the Sea, so being part of the Bondi exhibition for the sixth time and winning the scholarship has added more excitement to his year.

“It’s a very artist-friendly scholarship,” Draper said of the grant.

“My first thought was, well, I could buy new art materials, but it should be used for something special and a bit different.

“Travel is always a good option.”

Draper said he is normally only able to stay for the installation period at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, so has decided part of the scholarship will go towards a longer stay in Sydney.

He plans to stay for the entire period of the sculpture show with his partner, Indra before travelling up and down the east coast visiting regional art centres.

“We’ve never had time to do that before,” Draper said.

But the travelling art research won’t stop there.

Come June next year, Draper plans to whisk himself and Indra away to Ireland, the Baltic states, the top of Scotland and potentially Berlin.

He also hopes to travel through Sweden and Norway to explore a few outdoor sculpture parks.

“I’m of Irish descent on my mum’s side, and her family’s original farm is still in Northern Ireland,” Draper said.

“There’s some ancient archaeological sites on the edge of Ireland too, and it all influences my work – how farmers use the landscape and my heritage.

“So, that will be a starting point…I’m not sure what I’ll find.”

Draper said he finds the symbology and language of Northern Europe interesting and is keen to visit a number of European art galleries.

“I’ve always been influenced by where I live and have travelled to,” he said.

“There’s just something about ancestry and the thousands of years of history that I don’t have over here [in Australia].”

Draper’s sculpture installation Configuration can be viewed at Bondi Beach from October 18 until November 4.