Prizewinner Sally Simpson with her work “Fragile Equilibrium”. Photo: Cassandra Miller.

ARTIST Sally Simpson was the big winner last night (May 27) when Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council hosted the 2021 QPRC Art Awards at The Q Exhibition Space.

Simpson won the QPRC Acquisitive Art Award of $5,000 for her sculptural installation, “Fragile Equilibrium”, made of waxed animal bones, copper, steel and thread, which the artist says speaks to her of “loss, transformation and our uneasy relationship with the natural environment”.

A graduate of South Australian School of Art, Sydney College of Fine Arts, and the then ANU School of Art, she now lives on a small farm in this region. Her sculptures refer to totems, crosses, trees and grave markers and signify the sacred, symbolic and emblematic forms humans have used to express reverence and invoke awe and mystery.

The crowd at The Q exhibition space last night. Photo: Cassandra Miller.

The awards exhibition, intended as “a testament to the diversity of styles and high level of artistic skill that exists in the studios and farm sheds of the Queanbeyan-Palerang region”, was viewed by more than 120 people.

The night also featured a Welcome to Country from Matilda House and words from Mayor Tim Overall, who both highlighted the importance of artists in local communities.

Other winners were Jarrah Knowles for “Orange Skies” in the $2,000 Youth Emerging Artist Award, Annette Blair in the $2,000 Small Sculpture Prize for “Hope” and Lea Durie in the $1,000 Ceramics Award for “Thirst”.

Guest judges, Monika McInerney, artistic director and co-CEO of Belconnen Arts Centre, and Gina Mobayed, director of Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, were unanimous in their decisions, awarding works that embodied “bold, decisive themes and expressed each artist’s intimate understanding of their chosen medium”.

Representatives from the major sponsor, Braidwood and Bungendore Community Branches of the Bendigo Bank, chose Olivia Bernardoff’s work, “A Never Ending Story”, for the $1,000 Bendigo Pick Prize, saying it provided “an intimate impression of the Australian landscape”.

Visitors can now cast their vote for the $1,000 People’s Choice Award by viewing the exhibition and submitting a voting slip.

2021 QPRC Art Awards exhibition, The Q Exhibition Space, Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm, until June 19.

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