A 21-YEAR-OLD University of Wollongong visual arts and graphic design student from Boorowa has won The Hero’s Journey art prize run by aMBUSH Gallery at the ANU.
Stella Evans’ poster, “The Road of Hope”, was chosen by a panel of three independent judges to receive the $3,000 cash prize, described by judge Jaklyn Babington as “a personal story detailing her family’s grit and resilience in the face of extreme hardship this year”.
Fellow judge Erica Seccombe described the work as “a composition [that] skilfully balances all of the formal elements together to create a resolved narrative that illustrates a heart-breaking experience with a hopeful message”, while the third judge, Oscar Capezio, said the poster expressed a strong personal message of hope and admiration for her community in rural Australia, communicated through a dynamic and visually engaging composition.
Raised on her family’s sheep farm in NSW, Evans is familiar with the hardships of life on the land, but was so shocked by the effects of the drought on her family and their entire community that she felt compelled to convey this in her artwork.
Her winning entry depicts Evans’ father hand-feeding the sheep on their property amidst the dustbowl of a long drought, reflected in her choice of a sombre colour palette consisting mainly of shades of brown, yellow and cream, with her father’s blue shirt providing the spark of colour and hope.
She created the poster in Adobe Illustrator using a photograph she had taken of her father, with other elements such as the freight truck, the dried-up dam and the windmill illustrated separately then integrated into the scene.
Curated and presented by aMBUSH Gallery, the posters of the 50 finalists are now on display in a free, online exhibition with the entries exploring themes that have contributed to making 2020 a hero’s journey for many Australians.
A physical exhibition will be held at the gallery in Kambri at ANU during November featuring all entrants and the 50 finalists, with Evans in attendance. Artworks will be sold on the artists’ behalf, with no commission taken on sales.