2023 Dobell Exhibition Grants Announced

Announcing the 2023 Dobell Exhibition Grants and celebrating 50 years of giving for the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation

We are pleased to announce this year’s Dobell Exhibition Grant program recipients!

This year, the Dobell Exhibition Grant is supporting two exhibitions, with one $30,000 amount awarded to the Blue Mountains City Art Gallery for their proposed exhibition Sensorial and one $10,000 amount awarded to Wagga Wagga Art Gallery for their exhibition Precious.

Sensorial is an exhibition embracing all our senses, moving beyond the dominance of sight within the gallery space. Hearing and the sensation of touch will be given equal priority for experiencing these works. A diverse selection of artists will create immersive environments to be experienced through a variety of senses. Taking the lead from the neurodivergent community who often have a unique range of senses and can feel, hear, smell and sense things others do not notice, this exhibition aims to be an inclusive space for those who are often overwhelmed by bright lights and loud noises.

Curated by Rilka Oakley, the exhibition will showcase local and national artists whose work creates a full experiential environment that is empathetic to the needs of neurodivergent and all visitors to the exhibition. Participating artists include Liam Benson, Hannah Surtees, Inspired by Art (accessible art group) led by Clare Delaney, Alison Bennett with Dean Walsh, and the Katoomba Neurodiversity Hub with Amy Bell, with more artists to be announced.

In Precious, Australian artist Sarah Goffman will utilise her practice of exploring the aesthetics of plastic to reimagine and recreate works from the National Art Glass Collection. A commentary on the beauty and preciousness of plastic and the vandalism of pollution, the works will be exhibited in the National Art Glass Gallery at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery in 2023.

During 2023 Wagga Wagga Art Gallery will devote its entire exhibition programming to considerations of the environment – from the sublime to climate crisis. It is within this context that Dr Lee-Anne Hall will curate Precious, an exhibition which asks audiences to reconsider their relationship to plastic. Goffman’s practice has long critiqued plastic as a material which is monstrously damaging to the environment, human and animal life. Playful and intellectually rigorous, Goffman’s artworks are created with the material she critiques – salvaged and single use plastics. Coupled with her interest in mimicry, fakes and replicas, she creates works that people can identify with, bottles that once held Coca-Cola or Dynamo Liquid, while also weaving into the work commentary on the ubiquitous nature of garbage and the vandalism of pollution.


Dobell through his own experience recognised the importance of supporting individual artists and the institutions that underpin this ecosystem - Michelle Belgiorno, Chair, Sir William Dobell Art Foundation

The Sir William Dobell Art Foundation was established in 1971 from the proceeds of Dobell’s estate ‘for the benefit and promotion of art in NSW’.

For 50 years this Foundation has been supporting NSW artists and the galleries that exhibit them through an extraordinary array of commissions, gifts and partnerships.

Beginning with the iconic mural Five Bells by John Olsen donated in 1973 to the newly completed Sydney Opera House, other significant early donations included Dobell’s sketchbooks to the National Gallery of Australia, Bert Flugelman’s public sculpture, Pyramid Tower, to the City of Sydney, a sculpture by Robert Klippel and 900 drawings by Dobell to the Art Gallery of NSW, and an Arthur Boyd painting to Macquarie University.

Today the Foundation supports significant project partnerships with institutions, including Museums & Galleries of NSW, which benefit artists, art educators, students and galleries across regional and metro NSW. You can read more about these impactful initiatives here.

Since 2016, the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation has supported the Dobell Exhibition Grant program, funding innovative curated exhibitions in both small and large regional galleries around the State. Projects have included; Lismore Regional Gallery, From Here to There: Australian art and walking; Newcastle Art Gallery for their exhibition SODEISHA: Connected to Australia; Notes from the Field at Murray Art Museum Albury and Maitland Regional Art Gallery’s exhibition Shadow Boxer, amongst others.

We look forward to our continuing partnership with this remarkable Foundation, and thank Chair Michelle Belgiorno, Art Director Paula Latos-Valier and their fellow trustees for their dedication and support of this grant program.

The Dobell Exhibition Grant is supported by the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation and managed by Museums & Galleries of NSW.