Lucille Osborne Emerging Artist Memorial Fellowship

Lucille Osborne was a passionate supporter of emerging Indigenous artists. In 2015, IACA received a bequest of $20,000 from the will of Lucille Osborne and worked closely with Lucille’s family to create an emerging artist Fellowship in her honour. Since the Lucille Osborne Emerging Artist Memorial Fellowship was established, $5000 per year has been awarded every year to a successful applicant through a competitive application process.

The intention of the Fellowship is to support an emerging artist or arts worker to extend their arts/curatorial practice. The opportunity to nominate an emerging artist to be considered for this award is offered to IACA members. Through this fellowship, IACA continues to support its artists to further develop their professional skills and provide the platform for future development work which is often overlooked but is intrinsic to the future success of our member Art Centres.

After 5 brilliant years, the philanthropic bequest is exhausted. Your donation will help us to continue the fellowship and develop a burgeoning career for an emerging artist. 



The fellowship includes travel & accommodation expenses associated with a professional development placement at an institution covering: Artist workshops, Exhibition ready programs, Curatorial and Conservation. There are four categories to choose from:

OPTION 1.  2 week placement at the Australian National University School of Art in Canberra. This placement includes accommodation at the university’s college accommodation (or similar institution such as COFA, Sydney).

OPTION 2. Attend the Garma Festival, NT and tour Yirrkala Art Centre.

OPTION 3. Nominated institutional placement of the applicants own choice.

OPTION 4. Submit an arts project proposal.


The applications are assessed against the selection criteria by a selection panel, made up of an IACA staff member and a combination of an Indigenous Curator, NorthSite Director, and IACA Board Director. The successful applicant will be highly motivated and demonstrate their commitment and desire to develop/extend their creative practice.


The recipient of the IACA Lucille Osborne Emerging Artist Memorial Fellowship is announced at the annual CIAF Artists Welcome Event hosted by IACA.

“This Fellowship means so much to me. I can realise my idea and dream”

Kaye Bush - MiArt Mornington Island Art



Kaye is an emerging artist from MIArt art centre on Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Kaye received the fellowship to develop her visual arts practice in bronze casting.

In her application, Kaye said; “I began painting a year ago and recently started experimenting with different media. I came up with an idea to create a sculpture called ‘Yarn’. I am going to create a large sculpture of a family sitting around telling their stories. I want to cast the work in bronze. I have chosen bronze because it symbolises the strength of my culture and that our traditional stories will go on forever. This work will be placed outside and will be strong and not get broken. Casting in bronze is very expensive and this Fellowship means so much to me. I can realise my idea and dream”

Kaye Bush along with fellow artist, Annika Roughsey made the special trip to Brisbane in May 2016. Prior to the trip Kaye spent much time researching, brainstorming and making maquettes. It was the first time Kaye and Annika had visited Brisbane and their first experience in a foundry. The artists accomplished learning different moulding, casting techniques and experimenting with different patinas to make bronze sculpture.



Valmai is a talented emerging artist from Yarrabah Art Centre who works in a variety of mediums including ceramic, painting, prints and textile design.

Valmai had the clear intention to use the $5000 fellowship to mount her first solo exhibition at Loft Space with the Cairns Regional Art Gallery. The arts project proposal was developed around Valmai’s exhibition concept for an ambitious new body of work comprising of large-scale etchings on beautiful oversized Haenamule paper, expertly framed. The fellowship award would be used to cover the substantial printing costs to access the large press as well as the materials and framing.

“I believe that this opportunity will greatly assist in the production of my prints, making my first solo show a shining success,” said Valmai.



Philip is an artist at Girringun Art Centre in Cardwell. He is a descendant of a long line of craftsmen and women who specialised in traditional objects including tools, weavings and string.

In his application, Phillip outlined that he wished to explore the uses of bush string in traditional tools, and how old crafts could be developed in contemporary art forms. His intended project aimed to revive an art form that may be lost to the pages of time. “This new knowledge would allow me to practice other old techniques so that I can teach others and ensure the longevity of the practice.”

The project intended to take advantage of the art centres’ ongoing partnership with a variety of museums, galleries and learning institutes to include visits to their collections. In his application Phillip said, “I would like to visit the Melbourne Museum where I know there is a full-size trap in their collection and the Museum of Tropical North Qld to see how string has been used in various ways.” 

Hetti Perkins who judged the award commented: “I feel that the work Phillip wants to do is very important culturally and for the future development of regional practice in exploring the opportunities for traditional craft to be translated into a contemporary arts context”.

During the fellowship, Phillip undertook field trips on country to collect local materials and worked closely with Ninny Murray, a Jirrbal Elder, artist and one of a handful of people who still know how to make objects from string. He learnt about the construction of fish and turkey traps and succeeded in making a fish trap made with traditional hand made bush string. Philip said “Some of these objects have not been made for decades and it is important for me, my family and the community to revive these techniques for our future generations. IACA has assisted me to continue these traditions.”



Emerging artists Paula Savage and Fiona Elisala of Moa Arts were jointly awarded the 2018 fellowship.

Both artists expressed interest in selecting the prize option of a knowledge exchange via placement at the Australian National University School of Art in Canberra.

In her application, Fiona said, “The fellowship will support my career in gaining new skills and development. I will develop and retain my cultural knowledge and heritage through my art. As a Torres Strait Islander woman the importance and value for me pertains to the values, beliefs and unique identity that we share and carry impacts on the lives of our family, community and who we are as individuals.”

Paula said, “The IACA emerging artist Fellowship will support my career as an emerging artist. I am an inspired and motivated new artist, showing great skill and potential to excel in this career and the placement at the Australian National School of Art in Canberra would be invaluable for me. Developing my art practice to the next level and to give me the opportunity to research and refine my concepts.”

The judges believed that both artists were equally worthy of the fellowship and in awarding it the two applicants they could support each other in their travel to Canberra.

Paula and Fiona travelled to Canberra in February 2019 to start at the ANU School of Art, attending classes and practical workshops, and presenting on their art making. The ANU lecturers said they were unsure if the artists were teaching ANU more than the University was teaching them. The residency introduced the artists to the major institutions in Canberra and provided the opportunity to work with other artists from across the country.



Dorothy is an emerging artist from MIArt art centre based on Mornington Island. Dorothy is the fifth daughter of Sally Gabori and a talented painter and creative artist in her own right.

In her application Dorothy revealed that the sources of inspiration for all her paintings are from her own lived experience and the stories she heard growing up with the Old People. She said, "When I come across new things I’ve found that it doesn’t take long before bits and pieces of those things come into my work – it might be a new way of putting different colours next to each other or it might be just because I’ve had a yarn with someone from another place that helps me think about my place in a different way.”

Dorothy applied for the opportunity to attend the Garma Festival in the NT & tour the Buku Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre at Yirrkala. “If I can go to the Garma Festival and see all the artists and dancers from other places I think it will help me develop my art because I will be able to think about what it is that is special about my art and what I can make even more special that will be able to show others my stories and my histories. It would be good for me to visit another art centre too and see the way other artists organise themselves so they can build their careers as professionals.” Dorothy Gabori

Dorothy will undertake her fellowship in July 2020.