OPPORTUNITY: Clarence Valley artist Julie Hutchings with her work Anxious Wait from the Grafton Regional Gallery's Regional Collection. Mrs Hutchings has received the 2017 Yugilbar Fellowship.
OPPORTUNITY: Clarence Valley artist Julie Hutchings with her work Anxious Wait from the Grafton Regional Gallery's Regional Collection. Mrs Hutchings has received the 2017 Yugilbar Fellowship. Lesley Apps

Yulgilbar Fellowship sends Hutchings to France

ANZAC Day 2018 is to be a life-changing experience for Clarence artist Julie Hutchings because she will be at at one of the most sacred places in Australia's military history, Villers- Bretonneux in the north of France.

Mrs Hutchings' desire to artistically chronicle and honour her own family's contribution has seen her dream to visit the region become a reality, thanks to the generous initiative that is the Yulgilbar Travelling Fellowship.

The $11,000 awarded to Mrs Hutchings this week will help her travel to France to conduct artistic research and develop a body of work on Australia's indigenous Diggers.

She said her two great uncles of indigenous descent were killed on the Western Front and the opportunity to honour

their contribution while visiting many memorials and historical sites linked to Australia's involvement in the First World War was something she had always wanted to do.

"This is the first opportunity I had like this and I was never going to

go anywhere else,” she said.

"I'm getting emotional now just thinking about it.

"It's an exciting opportunity but very surreal at the same time.”

Mrs Hutchings has

been a professional artist for 20 years and said she would hold an exhibition

to show her 10-14 day trip

in some format in due course.

"I'm going to be sketching, photographing and painting to document as much possible while I'm there,” she said.

"I'll spend some time in Paris and visit some of the famous galleries and museums.

"I'm not sure where or how but this trip will eventually culminate in a show right here (in the Clarence).

"I still can't believe it.

"I feel very privileged and honoured to be awarded the Yulgilbar Fellowship, and look forward to being able to do this fantastic opportunity justice.”

Grafton Regional Gallery director Jude McBean said she was pleased the Yulgilbar Fellowship was awarded to Mrs Hutchings by the independent panel of five arts and business professionals.

"This year saw outstanding applications for the fellowship and I did not envy the panel's work in selecting only one,” Ms McBean said.

"Julie's artistic practice has gone from strength to strength over the years and the Yulgilbar Fellowship will provide a great opportunity for professional development through research of events and issues that are both historically and personally significant to her.”



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