Professional Pathways Award

Recognising talent and drive

Recognising talent and drive

The Studio A Professional Pathways Award recognises a non-Studio A artist with intellectual disability who demonstrates the drive and talent to engage with the contemporary art world. The recipient will receive a Studio A-style professional development opportunity spanning up to 12 months. The project design is bespoke to each awardee but may include individual mentorship along with access to particular materials and/or working space and would generally include a public showcase of the developed work.

Who’s eligible for the award?

To be considered for the Professional Pathways Award, artists must meet the following criteria:

  1. An established portfolio of artwork demonstrating a sustained and excellent art practice.
  2. A capacity to work professionally in a studio environment.
  3. A commitment to their art practice and career.
  4. An appropriate support network to sustain participation in the program.

Please note that fulfilling the eligibility requirements does not guarantee selection, as the award is highly competitive and limited in capacity. The assessment process involves careful consideration by our curatorial panel to identify artists who align with our mission and show significant potential for growth within the contemporary art world.

Award recipients

Jaycee Kim

Jaycee Kim


Jaycee works predominantly in watercolour and acrylic, with a vibrant colour palette inspired by his favourite video game, Kingdom Hearts. “My work is about transformation,” says Jaycee. “The patterns and degradation of colour allow and reflect changes of expression in my brain. Rainbow colours allow me to change colours and moods.”

As part of the Professional Pathways Award, Jaycee worked under the mentorship of Christopher Haysom, Studio A’s principal digital artist. His forays into the medium were exhibited in March 2020 in the group show Mobile Colour, at Cement Fondu, Paddington. There he presented a bespoke chess set with each piece made in his own image (Jaycee’s Ultimate Chess Board Battle), augmented reality wallpaper (Postage Stamp Colour Palette) and a series of self portraits as his various alter egos (a Loreto school girl, a Disney Princess).

Matthew Elliott

Matthew Elliott


Matthew Elliott is an abstract painter with a fascination for dream states. He is inspired by the work of David Collins and Elizabeth Cummings who he says have "greatly influenced my art style towards abstraction".

Matthew's body of work explores ideas and forms informed by his dreams. He uses watercolour paints and crystal pigments to create flowing paintings that explore different states of consciousness. Viewing his work one feels underwater or immersed in fog. These beautiful and often bright abstractions tease the viewer. One moment Matthew’s images seem to reach out and grab you, the next they gently pull away from focus. His work exists in a liminal state between clarity and obscurity.

With support from the Studio A Professional Pathways award, Matthew worked under the mentorship of internationally recognised  painter, Jo Bertini. Matthew's work was a central feature in the exhibition Where I'd Rather Be. The exhibition was held at Creative Space in North Curl Curl and was paired with a painting and drawing workshop hosted by Elliott.

Arunan Dharmalingam

Arunan Dharmalingam


Arunan Dharmalingam is fascinated with agriculture. Farm animals, plants and fruits are recurring subjects in his drawing, painting and print-making practice. Using a touch screen to communicate, Arunan will tell you he is "excited" and "happy" to draw these things.

Arunan is a prolific drawer. He repeatedly draws the same, near identical forms time and time again. On a larger scale, the simplicity of Arunan's hand-drawn lines and bold colour patterns appear to jump right off the paper.

With support from the Studio A Professional Pathways award Arunan created a new body of work that was showcased at Sydney Contemporary in 2017.

Support our cause and donate today

Support our cause and donate today

Imagine a future where artists with disability thrive in the arts, enjoying equitable opportunities, recognition and the backing to pursue their creative careers. Our goal is to shape a society that wholeheartedly embraces and appreciates the unique artistic offerings of artists with disability.

Your contribution serves as a meaningful investment in making this future a vibrant reality.

Photography by Studio A, Four Minutes to Midnight, Studio Air.

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