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Canberra Today 24°/26° | Tuesday, November 30, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

National Capital art prize win comes as ‘welcome news’

FROM a cheeky look at women controlling their own sexuality to a picture of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard as blazing redhead, the winning paintings in the inaugural National Capital Art Prize spell out loud and clear that art should be accessible.

The announcements were made at Aarwun Gallery, Gold Creek tonight (October 29) before a packed house of masked  art lovers eager to view and buy the works from the final 121 shortlisted artworks, chosen from more than 1000 entries, which travelled to Canberra for the final round of judging.

The Open Section winner of $15,000 was Janne Kearney from Victoria with her artwork, “All Day Sucker.”

“Women controlling their own sexuality is a taboo subject, this work teases the viewer’s perception of sweetness and innocence through the subject’s visual double entendre,” Kearney has written of her boldly colourful painting.

“This prize has come as very welcome news to me and my family. My husband passed away earlier this year, diagnosed with cancer in 2019… This is the first painting I have created since then. I am thrilled and incredibly honoured,” Kearney said.

First Nations section winner was Betty Pula Morton from the NT with her acrylic on linen artwork, “My Country and Bush Medicine,” who also won a $15,000 cash prize.

“I paint my father’s country, where you can always find bush tucker and bush medicine. I’m happy when out bush, hunting and gathering, it brings back memories of my childhood when I used to live traditionally off of the land with my family,” she wrote.

The $5000 Landscape prize went to Greg Mallyon from Victoria for his pigment on wood artwork “Flightpath over Tanami Desert,” of which he says, “My work is inspired by aerial views of the landscape below. During my travels I have flown over and travelled through much of outback Australia including remote locations such as the Tanami Desert.”

The Student Winner of $2500 for art courses or supplies was Samantha Corbett from the ACT with her artwork, “We All Waited For It To Pass”, which explores the moments of intimacy and distance that she says characterises this technological age, using digital imagery from her social media circles. Last but not least was the People’s Choice Award which received close to 26,000 online votes with one very popular artwork receiving more than 2000 views.

This year’s People’s Choice was Mark Wilson from NSW with his artwork “Red Heads Rule…!”

“Julia Gillard was our first female prime minister, a strong woman in a men’s club world. I wanted to humanise her as a politician and celebrate her prime ministership; her introduction of a carbon tax, the NDIS scheme and her famous ‘Misogynist’ speech. As a fellow red head, I could not help adding ‘Red Heads Rule..!’ with the iconic Australian Redheads behind her,” Wilson said.

Panel judge member, Justice John Sackar, said: “The entries in this competition were a joyful mixture of industry, imagination and of course skill. There is a rich diversity about them, and they have all been created in what must have been the most difficult time our planet has faced in living memory.”

The judges also awarded a number of highly commended certificates for outstanding works.

Philanthropist and founder of the National Capital Art Prize, Robert Stephens praised the creativity and passion of the entrants, saying: “I’ve always wanted to see Canberra host a nationally recognised and acclaimed art prize which celebrates works of any subject and continues every year long into the future.”

The National Capital Art Prize Finalist Exhibition, at 11 Federation Square, Nicholls until November 11. Bookings and sales of finalists’ works here

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Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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