Sculpture by the Sea announces Emerging Sculptor Mentorships

Ayako Saito, Grove, 2013 - photo by Clyde YeeSculpture by the Sea, Bondi has announced this year’s recipients of the Clitheroe Foundation Emerging Sculptor Mentorships. Ayako Saito, Thomas Quayle and Samantha Stephenson will each receive $10,000.

The Clitheroe Foundation Emerging Sculptor Mentorship program was established in 2006. In addition to the financial award, each artist will work with the mentor of their choosing over a twelve month period to facilitate the professional and technical development of their artistic skills.

Both students of the National Art School in Sydney, Thomas Quayle (graduated 2013) and Samantha Stephenson (in the third year of her Bachelor’s degree) make their debuts at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi. Ayako Saito has previously had her works featured at both Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi and Cottesloe exhibitions.

Ayako Saito migrated to Australia from Tokyo in 2002 and studied sculpture at the Australian National University, graduating with a Masters Degree in 2008. Saito’s early works in bronze were inspired by the sensuality and form of the figure. At last year’s Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2013, Saito cemented her departure from bronze and her mastery of steel with Grove, an accomplished sculpture of geometric yellow intersecting planes.

Her sculpture for this year’s exhibition, Morning Star is also in steel and her chosen mentor is Dr. Michael Hill, Head of Art History and Theory at the National Art School.

Thomas Quayle graduated from Macquarie Fields High in 2006 and went on to graduate from the National Art School with Honours in Ceramics in 2013. His figurative works are sensitive, authentic, vulnerable and a confronting social comment. Of his entry for this year’s exhibition, Comenavadrink, Quayle says, “[It] was inspired by the people I grew up with. People who lived in excess, drank heavily and spoke one word sentences.” Ceramicist Tania Rolland is his mentor.

Samantha Stephenson is currently in her third year of a Bachelor of Fine Art (majoring in sculpture) at the National Art School. Other, a work in steel for this year’s exhibition, is constructed with two interlocking pieces of steel reflecting the nature of being human, of being interdependent.

“Other is a unification of two parts, an investigation into ideas of humanity and in particular, the interdependency of relationships, those with self and others, mind and body, consciousness and unconsciousness,” says Stephenson.

“Each counterpart has been rolled and tucked into and around the other in a coiled structure, the curves echoing those found in its natural surroundings…It is as if each piece has a reliance on the other in order to stand and balance in unity. There are times in an individual’s life when it is only another that can embrace and help us to stand.”

Samantha’s chosen mentor is sculptor David Horton who received the main award at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi in 2007.

“Congratulations to the artists,” says Founding Director of the exhibition, David Handley.  “The mentorships are a wonderful opportunity for the emerging artists to have a formalised process of seeking a mentor, benefiting from professional advice as well as providing brief reports on the experience. This gives the artists a variety of benefits while supporting them with some of their costs of exhibiting in Sculpture by the Sea.”

The world’s largest annual free-to-the-public outdoor sculpture exhibition runs from 23 October – 9 November transforming Sydney’s Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk each spring. Over 500,000 visitors enjoy the exhibition during its three-week run. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Ayako Saito, Grove, 2013 – photo by Clyde Yee