Massive response to Robert’s idealist art award


THE Canberra lockdown has delayed award announcements for the nation’s first annual art award, but at the Aarwun Gallery in Gold Creek, it looks like the excitement is still high.

During frequent phone calls to the founder of the award, Robert Stephens, voices, clicks and hammers could be heard and as he said a few days ago: “You wouldn’t recognize the gallery”, which , with a field of 127 finalists, is packed to the rafters.

One thing Stephens is particularly proud of is the sheer number of shortlisted ACT artists – 16 of them, with veteran landscape painter Sandra House entering two shortlisted applications and Claire Shepherd Primrose, who is defined as ACT / NSW, having one. also listed two.

There are also regional artists on the list who are often identified as Canberran, including Kerry McInnis, from Bungendore.

With 46 finalists from NSW, 21 from Victoria, 12 from WA, 10 from Queensland, 8 from NT, 6 from SA and 3 from Tasmania, this tends to confirm the impression that Canberra artists are hitting above their weight, but, of course, statistics can never predict the outcome.

Judges are critic and author Sasha Grishin; Justice John Sackar; artist and former director of the National School of Fine Arts, Bernard Ollis; Aboriginal artist-teacher, Lynnice Church; NGA curator Peter Johnson; director of the ANU School of Art & Design, Rebekah Davis and director of CMAG, Sarah Schmidt.

Having reduced the numbers to over 1000 nominations, their task is now to judge the shortlisted works of art a second time to decide on the four winners of the categories – “Open”, “First Nations Awards for Indigenous and Islander Artists. Torres Strait “,” Landscape “and” Student “.

The $ 45,000 prize pool includes $ 15,000 each for open and First Nations artwork, a landscape prize of $ 5,000, a public prize of $ 2,500 and an art scholarship valued at of $ 5,000 available to current ANU students.

While Stephens has spoken about the devastating impact of covid on the arts sector, his take on what he sees as a permanent award is idealistic – promoting culturally diverse artistic endeavors, showcasing Australian artists, supporting the artistic endeavors of artists. young people and provide a forum where art can be seen, studied, criticized and sold.

All the shortlisted works can be viewed on

Thoughts of painters

Artists participating in the award have been invited to submit an artist statement.

Here are some thoughts from ACT painters.

Samantha Corbett’s “We All Waited For It To Pass”.

that of Samantha Corbett The painting “We All Waited for It to Pass” explores the moments of intimacy and distance that characterize this technological era. Digital imagery from his social media circles has become a creative entry into painting to develop an aesthetic that speaks of the oscillation between figuration and abstraction, imagery and feeling.

“Pipuwakirri” by Blake Edwards.

Blake edwards writes about his work “Pipuwakirri”, that after visiting the National Gallery and the works of Albert Namatjira, he immediately became connected with his depictions of a pastoral landscape in his country.

“Halfway between First Nations Australians and Norwegian Sami,” he explains, his work shares the theme of modern international cultural exchanges.

Helene goodwin image, “Gibraltar”, was created from his experience of Gibraltar Falls looking at the landscape to capture the transition of light moving through the shapes. She previously studied and worked in the fashion industry as a textile designer.

“From William Hovell Drive” by Sandra House.

For over 45 years Sandra House painted mainly in oils and is known for her paintings of the bush and surrounding area of ​​Canberra. She says of “From William Hovell Drive”: “I travel this road all the time, especially early in the morning”. Her second shortlisted work, “In the Brindabellas”, was, she says, created to show one of her favorite places.

Solomon Karmel-Shann “Still Life” explores the effects of placing a figure in a still life. The resulting dynamism is austere – the feelings of the young man, the notion of travel and the darkness of the unknown. She is a 24-year-old painter who is interested in how strange, unexpected and invisible things are part of our world.

“Autumn is Falling” by Jack Mather.

Jack Mather’s portrait “Autumn’s Falling” is based on the theme of autumn and the fall of leaves in the landscape. However, it is the subject that falls, through the vivid fall colors and not the leaves. “I am a visionary and creative artist,” he says.

By creating “Hear the Music”, Joan mckay, a wildlife keeper, used a scalpel, tattoo needles, microfiber pen, and etching pen to scrape multiple layers into the Ampersand Scratchboard to represent Mallee and Pebbles, two red-necked wallaby joeys, aiming to capture their personalities, their sense of the game, and their excitement.

Thet Naing’s landscape oil painting, “Autumn Bliss” showcases autumn in Canberra, especially the beauty of Lake Ginninderra created by the changing seasons.

“Between day and night” by Varvara Naumova.

Varvara Naumova studied art at Abramtsevo College of Industrial Arts in Moscow before moving to Canberra in 2015. “Between Day and Night” was inspired by a spectacular sunset that appeared over the Brindabellas. There are always real stories in her works, hidden behind metaphors – visual poetry, she says.

Prior Crystal, whose work ‘Divergent Reflection’ can be found in the student section, says: ‘Looking for an unorthodox way to capture my self-portrait, I grabbed my reflection in a spoon while I was drinking my tea and I thought it would push the boundaries of my vanity. ”Also an accomplished textile artist, she made quilts.

“Peripheral vision” by Claire Shepherd Primrose.

Artist-curator Claire Shepherd Primrose two paintings, “Peripheral Vision” and “Beyond Where We Are”, recreate surfaces, textures and colors evocative of particular places; each work attempting to re-collect layers of the place both of and of memory mixed with specific gatherings.

“Lucy’s dreams” by Alice pulvers is a portrait of his younger sister and fellow artist, Lucy Pulvers. The darkness that surrounds Lucy and the random scattering of the elements suggest a dreamlike reverie. Trained in Japanese schools until she moved to Australia in 2000, Pulvers’ work strongly reflects her youth in Japan and in her compositions she layers many layers of color and pattern.

At Annette Rennie’s landscape painting, “Dusty Delivery” depicts a load on a hot, dusty day, and asks, “Will this heavy load make the delivery time?” “The yellow dust cloud against the blue sky and the gray red road drew me into this scene. I liked it so much that I painted it three times, ”she says.

“Winter Awakening Kamberri 1820” by Andrew Smith.

“Winter awakening – Kamberri 1820” by Andrew Smith depicts the time when many indigenous crowds and clan groups gathered to chat and interact in Kamberri. Throsby recorded many native family groups around rivers and foothills, hunting the grassy plains, fishing and collecting yam daisies, seeds and berries from the land.

As an avid hiker, Smith says, “The science of capturing color and light inspires me and when color, light and emotion come together you know you have a good painting.

Janet Thatcher The work “Hear Us” uses realism to lead the viewer on a unique and emotional journey. Passion, love and a long-standing affinity with animals are what motivates his photo-realistic pastel and velvet works.

Henry Xuning’s “The Pandemic”.

Henri xuning originally studied at the Central Academy of Arts and Crafts of China. In “The Pandemic,” he suggests, “Maybe we still keep the surface calm, but my brush accidentally touched our inner panic and anxiety. ”

Who can you trust?

In a world of spin and confusion, there has never been a more important time to support independent journalism in Canberra.

If you trust our work online and want to strengthen the power of independent voices, I invite you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support is reinvested in our journalism to help keep strong and free.

Become a supporter

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.