September 13, 2012

The Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship winner was announced today in a ceremony at the Brett Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills.  Mitch Cairns, 28, from Sydney’s Balmain, has won for his body of work, highlighted by One half of a woman’s waistline repeated 2012 and Poor Mum 2012.

This year’s judges were artist Del Kathryn Barton and the Gallery’s head of Australian art, Wayne Tunnicliffe. Begun in 1999, this scholarship for young Australian painters is now in its 14th year.  Ninety-five entries were received from around Australia and eleven were selected as finalists.

The Scholarship is open to Australian artists aged between 20 and 30 years.  Mitch has won $25,000 and a three month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, which is administered by the Art Gallery of NSW. Mrs Beryl Whiteley, who died in 2010, was awarded an OAM for the creation and endowment of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship in 2004. 

The inspiration for this annual scholarship was the profound effect of international travel and study experienced by her son, Brett

Sandra T. beside Brett Whiteley self-portrait

Whiteley, as a result of winning the Italian Government Travelling Art Scholarship at the age of 20.

Mitch Cairns won the Gruner Landscape Prize in 2003 and featured in the Salon de Refuses in 2004 whilst a student at the National Art School from which he graduated in 2006 with honours.  Mitch has been included in numerous group exhibitions in artist run spaces and public galleries including Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery, Campbelltown Arts Centre and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Sandra T.   Photos:  John Pond



September 8, 2012


As an avid Champagne fan, I am always interested to learn more about this delicious drink.

Sydney’s Sofitel Wentworth Hotel is currently presenting a Champagne Exhibition, in conjunction with the French Tourist Office, which features a rare and imported collection of vintage and contemporary photographs, prints and posters celebrating the world’s most beloved drink.

The Sofitel Lounge is offering a choice of over ten different types of French Champagne, available by the glass, paired with strawberry, oyster or pearl tasting plates.  Each tasting plate will bring out the best of the Champagne with fresh strawberries for dipping in a dark or white chocolate fondue, freshly shucked Pacific oysters with Champagne Mignonette sauce and Yarra Valley ‘First Harvest’ salmon caviar served with blinis, crème fraiche and chives.

How tempting is that, I can’t wait to try some.

Dom Perignon described drinking Champagne as like ‘tasting the stars’.

The exhibition is on public display in the hotel’s lobby gallery until the end of September, when it will move to the Sofitel Melbourne.  Sandra T.    Photo:  John Pond