A LARGE-format, linocut picturing Napoleon’s Empress Josephine has won the $12,000 Megalo International Print Prize, Megala, now in its second year, it was announced on Saturday night (March 14).
“Josephine’s Ark”, by Sydney print artist Rew Hanks, shows Josephine surrounded by creatures as different from each other as the Dodo and the common rooster.
Hanks, a Sydney printmaker and teacher, is known for a precision linocut technique which replicates the appearance of the 18th century prints on which much of colonial history rests, using his images to elicit questions about history.
He has won prizes at print exhibitions in Thailand, Japan, Turkey and India and his work is held in the collections of the NGA, the Art Gallery of NSW and the Art Gallery of SA.
Hanks’ work also won the acquisitive prize of $2500, announced by Andrew McFadzean from sponsor Lerida Estate, who told the crowd that last year so impressed had he been that he had bought two extra works over and above the acquisitive prize winner.
The visibly-delighted Hanks praised the friendly people in Canberra, a nice change, he thought, from spending “hours and hours in dungeons”.
And would he use his $12,000 prize money to buy new printing equipment? Not a bit of it. He’s be buying a trip to Greenland for him and his wife Janet.
The $6000 second prize winner was Korean artist Hyejeong Kwon for her work “Never ending story”, a complex, witty print involving aquatint, etching, “chine colle”, embossing, rolling, paper cutting and frottage.
The $1000 People’s Choice went to “The Fallen” by notable Canberra printmaker Dianne Fogwell, who won the inaugural Megala prize last year.
Chair of the Megalo board of management, Kate Ross, said this year’s prize had attracted 359 works from 229 artists and 32 countries, with 38 finalist works on show.
The judges, she said, were Roger Butler from the National Gallery; Ingeborg Hansen, director of Megalo and Miranda Metcalf, director of podcast and online publication “Pine, Copper, Line”.
Ross, who said printmaking required “physicality and above all collaboration”, said she was particularly pleased to note that the exhibition of finalists included four works by First Nations artists.
Megala, she believed, was certainly the annual celebration of printmaking in the ACT, but also, thanks to electronic media, was a key printmaking event across the world.