Young Canberra artist wins massive prize

“Having Reached Utopia, It Was Then Time”, by Sacha Pola, 2018, acrylic and conté crayon on canvas

A YOUNG Canberra-raised artist has been awarded the $50,000 Muswellbrook Regional Art Prize.

Sacha Jeffrey painting as Sacha Pola, beat a field of to 31 finalists, with his work, “Having Reached Utopia, It Was Then Time”, to win the prize, now in its 46th year.

Staged in the Muswellbrook Regional Gallery in the Upper Hunter region and sponsored by Bengalla Mining Company, the award attracted over 600 entries this year.

Pola was one of the youngest entrants and is not yet represented by a gallery.

Born in Canberra in 1988. he attended Telopea Park School then the ANU School of Art & Design, graduating with a double degree in Art History and Fine Arts with Honours, and he is now studying for his M.Ed. in Art.

He joins an illustrious lien of previous winners, not least Thomas Cleghorn, (the first winner in 1958) Fred Williams and David Strachan.

Judge Natalie Wilson from the Art Gallery of NSW praised the way Pola had blended early narrative traditions with early 20th century modernist painting in a work the artist himself said merged the Classicism and Neo-Classicism (Romanticism) of Western Europe with Asian visual traditions, “invoking notions of the divine that are as fundamental as they are vague”.

Muswellbrook Regional Art Prize, Muswellbrook Regional Gallery, NSW, until May 5.

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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