Art draws on the experience of service people

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“Back off, he’s mine” by Jeffrey Wharton.

THE 2019 Napier Waller Art Prize online exhibition of 26 shortlisted artworks is now live on the Australian War Memorial’s website.

The aim of the prize is to promote artistic excellence and raise a broader awareness of military experience and the impact of service on the individual.

A panel of art professionals from the Australian War Memorial chose a shortlist of 26 works, from which a very large group of judges selected 12 as “highly commended”.

The shortlisted works range in subject matter from Canberra film maker Kris Kerehona’s poignant tribute to his Vietnam veteran dad, who survived the war but succumbed to the effects of Agent Orange, to Jeffrey Wharton’s terrifying depiction of the “Black Dog”, which attacks so many veterans.

The judges were Brendan Nelson, director of the Australian War Memorial; eX de Medici, former official war artist; Nick Mitzevich, director of the NGA; Gerard Vaughan, former director of the NGA; Caren Florance, University of Canberra program director, TQVisArts, Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra; General Angus Campbell, Chief of the Australian Defence Force; Gary Dawson, vice president Strategy, Thales Australia; Laura Webster, head of art, Australian War Memorial; and Paul Flynn, CEO, Hospital Research Foundation.

“Last man standing” by Kris Kerehona.

Voting has now also opened for the people’s choice award, including a cash prize of $5000 and will continue at until the exhibition closes.

The art prize, held in partnership with the University of Canberra, Thales Australia, The Road Home, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, is open exclusively to current and former Australian Defence Force personnel and has received 113 entries in this, its second year.

The winner will be announced at the launch of the 2019 exhibition on September 19 at the memorial. In addition to a $10,000 cash prize, the winning artist will have his or her work acquired into the memorial’s national collection and also receive a two-week research residency in the Art section of the Memorial, and a mentoring day with eX de Medici, former official war artist to the Solomon Islands.

2019 Napier Waller Art Prize online exhibition at awm

The public exhibition will open to the public from September 20 to November 17.

The full list of shortlisted works is as follows:

  • “Back off, he’s mine” by Jeffrey Wharton.
  • “Servicing a machine of war for the war machine” by Carson Smith.
  • “A Brother in Arms” by Georgie Hicks.
  • “Melagowam Gijam Daam Yurunya (This is our Gija Country)” by Mark Nodea (Gija).
  • “Unconquered courage” by Gordon Traill.
  • “You are in danger and I am far away” by Natalie Duncan.
  • “Imagine a social fabric” by Matt Jones.
  • “The battle of Coral–Balmoral, Vietnam 1968” by Rodney Usback.
  • “Last man standing” by Kris Kerehona.
  • “When I close my eyes” by Garry Dolan.
  • “WAHAB Dec 18 2010” by Robert Cooper.
  • “Line of Sight” by Eduardo De Araujo.



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Helen Musa
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