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2015 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award. Winner Announced by Shepparton Art Museum

Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) is delighted to announce the winner of the biennial Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Art Award (SMFACA), the premier national award for artists working in ceramics.
The $50,000 acquisition prize has been awarded to Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran.

Deputy Director, National Gallery Australia and former Director of SAM Kirsten Paisley described the work of Ramesh as “an extraordinary body of major sculptural works that are exceptionally exciting.” Ramesh focuses “on diverse sources from pre-colonial Hindu devotional sculpture to Christianity and sexualized bodies he explores fertility and creation, religion and gender. His work evokes the energy and reverence of `the deity’ while embodying the playfulness of a story-book action hero.”

This year’s Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Art Award exhibition supports the rich, vibrant and diverse use of the ceramic medium, and includes the work by five contemporary artists Adam John Cullen, Penny Byrne, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Ruth Hutchinson and Sanné Mestrom. SAM Acting Director Rebecca Coates explains that “each of the five artists shortlisted has created an outstanding new body of work that not only extends their own artistic practice, but also challenges our understanding of ceramics within a contemporary context.“

All five finalists were judged on the following criteria detailed by Ms Coates “the conceptual premise of the work and approach to the opportunity; technical ability and engagement with materiality; and spatial considerations – how the work inhabited the space. The work also needed to be innovative, to challenge, excite and intrigue.”

All five artists’ works will be on display at the Shepparton Arts Museum until November.

Shepparton Art Museum is proudly provided by Greater Shepparton City Council, located at 70 Welsford Street, Shepparton. For general enquiries and bookings please contact: (03) 5832 9861, email, or visit Open 7 days, 10am to 4pm, public holidays 1pm to 4pm. SAM is also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @SAM_Shepparton

Image: Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Archipelago, 2015, mixed media, dimensions variable, Shepparton Art Museum

For further information on this media release please contact:

Gabriella Calandro, Marketing Coordinator Shepparton Art Museum
(03) 5832 9522


New SAM Acting Director appointed

Greater Shepparton City Council is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Rebecca Coates in the role of Acting Director SAM commencing Monday 17 August.

Dr Coates is eminently qualified for the role as an established curator, writer and lecturer, with over 20 years professional art museum and gallery experience in both Australia and overseas. She is currently a Lecturer at the University of Melbourne in Art History and Art Curatorship and has a PhD in Art History.

Her work history includes her current role as Associate Curator of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art; Curator, Visual Arts Program, Melbourne International Arts Festival; Touring Exhibitions Organiser, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford; Program Coordinator, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne and Curatorial Assistant, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.

Dr Coates has curated numerous exhibitions, and edited and contributed to exhibition publications. She speaks and writes regularly on contemporary art and theory, curatorial practice, and art in the public realm, and has contributed to a number of art magazines and journals including Art & Australia, Eyeline, Art World, Art Monthly Australia, un magazine, Broadsheet and refereed academic journals.

She is also a member of several advisory boards and has experience working with philanthropic, business and government sectors and on panels and public forums. Dr Coates is also a judge for the 2015 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award, the winner of which will be announced on 24 August at SAM. Dr Coates also has extensive knowledge of Australia art and in marketing and management within the art sector.

Rebecca Coates is excited about taking up the Acting Director position at SAM. “It’s a great institution, with a strong team of staff and supporters. SAM has presented a really interesting and dynamic series of contemporary and historic exhibitions over the last number of years,” said Dr Coates. 

“SAM is at an exciting point in its development. It’s known for its collection focus on ceramics, and has exciting plans for a new building. This is a significant opportunity to continue to work with the Greater Shepparton community to ensure SAM’s central place and role in this region. I look forward to working with the SAM staff and wider team at this dynamic point in SAM’s development.”

Greater Shepparton City Council Director Community, Kaye Thomson said SAM and Council are honoured to have Dr Coates take on the role.

“To attract someone with Rebecca’s experience and knowledge is a coup for the museum. We look forward to Rebecca’s input and guidance whilst we commence the recruitment process for a permanent SAM Director,” said Ms Thomson.