By Kate Hallen
I am currently sitting on a couch in Phillip, Canberra, just off the back of the opening of the Australian National Veterans Art Museum’s (ANVAM) exhibition, From War. This exhibition is on display in Parliament House until 2 February 2019, and one of my artworks is on show there. As I watch the sunset over the Canberra hills, I can’t help but get the warm feeling of completion – of everything coming full circle. And at the very start of that chapter, it was the Australian Veterans’ Children Assistance Trust (AVCAT) I had to thank.
I commenced my studies for a Bachelor of Visual Arts, with honours, in 2011, and graduated in 2014. When I began my studies, I knew there would be no discernible job outcome, as jobs in the arts sector are seldom seen, or very, very competitive. My parents also knew this and were eventually supportive of the idea (both of my parents having served in the military, so you can imagine the initial concerns of their daughter wanting to go to art school). But alongside this divergent career path, there was also the stress of money. After deliberation, and application, and waiting, I was awarded a scholarship from AVCAT in 2011 with the sponsorship of the TPI Association of NSW and for this, myself and my family were incredibly grateful. Being awarded this scholarship meant it relieved a lot of the financial pressures that came with study, and allowed me to focus on my degree. I am very lucky for that – not all students get such support.
Fast forwarding to 2018, I have since had three solo shows, and my work featured in five others. I am rapidly working on my next show in Perth 2019. Three of my paintings from my honours show have since been purchased by Parliament House for their permanent collection, now on display until the 3 February 2019, as well as many other private acquisitions. It has been a wonderful journey, to pursue my artistic career and I am eager to continue to traverse the road ahead.
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