Winners of Les Peterkin Portrait Prize named at colourful fancy dress ceremony

The winners of the Les Perkins Portrit Prize for 2018 have been announced.

First place winners for the three age categories are:  
·  Zac Dascoli (5-7 years) from Centaur Primary School, Banora Point
·  Billy Miller (8-10 years) from Mt St Patrick Primary School, Murwillumbah
·  Indira Mansted (11-13 years) home schooled.

Zac Dascoli, Donkey Kong 2018

Zac Dascoli, Donkey Kong 2018

Billy Miller, Space Rescue 2018

Billy Miller, Space Rescue 2018

Indira Mansted, Cat Woman 2018

Indira Mansted, Cat Woman 2018

The annual Les Peterkin Portrait Prize, on show at the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre from Friday 28 September until Sunday 2 December 2018, is a huge celebration of the artistic talent of local primary school students. The Prize is one of the Gallery's most popular exhibitions, and has once again attracted an enormous number of entries and participating schools.

Each prize winner, along with the creators of 37 other award-winning and commended works, will have the thrill of seeing their artworks professionally framed and hung in the prestigious setting of the Gallery.

A further 205 outstanding works will be displayed in folios for the duration of the exhibition.

Working on the theme Going to a Fancy Dress Party, primary school students sketched, collaged, photographed and painted images that capture their unique character in costume through portraiture. This year's theme was set for students to create a portrait that captured themselves in fancy dress. Students were encouraged to explore the pose, costume and facial expressions of their character.

The Prize is named after legendary local artist and art teacher Les Peterkin, and is made possible by the financial support of Tweed Shire Council and Tyalgum Public School, with assistance from the Friends of the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Arts Centre Inc., Derivan - maker of quality artist materials, School Art Supplies - leading supplier of art and craft materials, Bunnings at Tweed Heads South, Murwillumbah Services Club and Office Max.

The Gallery hosted an official opening and prize-giving ceremony last Thursday afternoon, where many children, family and friends came dressed in costumes. The exhibition was officially opened by the Principal of Tyalgum Public School, Janelle Cloherty, followed by the keenly anticipated announcement of winners and prize-giving presented by Marianne Galluzzo, Prize Coordinator; Alan Hann, President of the Friends of the Gallery and the Prize's namesake himself - Les Peterkin.

Kendal Gear wins People's Choice Award in 2018 Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize

Perth artist Kendal Gear has been announced as the winner of the People’s Choice Award in the 2018 Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize at Lismore Regional Gallery.

Gear's self-portrait was voted by Gallery visitors as the favourite in a tightly contested list. On being named winner, Gear said, “It was great to be part of the exhibition and it’s so exciting and encouraging to receive this award, and prize money of $1,000. It’s come at a really good time for me.”


Director of Lismore Regional Gallery, Brett Adlington congratulated the winner, saying:
“For us, the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize is a chance to support a broad range of artists, emerging and established; local and national. We also see this award as a chance for the community to engage with a whole range of artistic styles, and the People’s Choice Award is a chance to acknowledge this. Kendal's work is exquisite in its detail and craftsmanship - and obviously resonated with our audiences.”
Acknowledging their support of the People’s Choice Award, Brad Gosling of Chandlers Betta Home Living, Lismore said:

“This portrait prize is a great way to celebrate the art of portraiture, and like The Archibald Prize, we know that many visitors like to have their say about who they think the winner should be. It’s for this reason we were happy to support the People’s Choice Award in the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize, and would like to congratulate the winner, Kendal Gear, on being voted favourite by visitors to the gallery.”
Brett Adlington also thanked the prize sponsors, Hurford Hardwood and Chandlers Betta Home Living, Lismore. “To have the support of local business really means so much for us, and helps us support artists in the early stages of their careers.”

Director of the Art Gallery of NSW, Dr Michael Brand, previously named Nicole Kelly as the Winner of the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize with her work, Jumaadi + Clouds + Rain, which now enters Lismore Regional Gallery's permanent collection.

The Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize will next be held towards the end of 2020.

Finalists selected for Portrait Prize at Lismore Regional Gallery

69 portraits have been painstakingly selected from 211 strong entries for the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize. These 69 will be included in the exhibition of finalists at Lismore Regional Gallery from 28 July – 23 September 2018. The announcement of the winner will be by this year’s judge, Dr Michael Brand, Director, Art Gallery NSW, on Saturday 28 July at 12 midday.

Robert Malherbe ,  Nina looking up   2018, oil on board, 46 x 38cm, image courtesy the artist and Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney

Robert Malherbe, Nina looking up 2018, oil on board, 46 x 38cm, image courtesy the artist and Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney

According to Kezia Geddes, curator, Lismore Regional Gallery, “Portraiture is Australia’s favourite genera of art. Big art prizes like The Archibald, The Doug Moran and The Portia Geach Memorial are testament to our love of the portrait. People are ultimately programmed to understand the human face and its many expressions. It is therefore not surprising that we are so readily enchanted by the ability of artists to render subtle nuances of a person and to capture something - whether this be a likeness or an aspect of someone’s persona.”

The Hurford Hardwood Prize started in response to a public call for a portraiture prize in the region. Now in its 8th year the prize was originally called The Northern Rivers Portrait Prize, and it was a painting and drawing prize open to artists whose artwork depicted a person from the Northern Rivers. It has since expanded to include portraits of any subject in any medium and is open to artists Australia wide. The finalist works reflect this expansion and include paintings, drawings, photographs, ceramics, and video portraits. Subjects are equally diverse and include local identities such as, Michael Balderstone, Dailan Pugh OAM and Ric Richardson, celebrities like Reg Mombassa, and more personal portraits of artists’ family members and quite a few self-portraits.

Gallery staff were so impressed by the standard of entries that the Permanent Collection Gallery (usually dedicated to exhibiting the permanent collection) was made available for the exhibition.

According to Brett Adlington, Director Lismore Regional Gallery, “The winner will receive $10,000 and the work will become part of Lismore Regional Gallery’s art collection. The prize money has been provided by local business, Hurford Hardwood. The Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize is one of our most popular exhibitions and we are very grateful to Hurfords for their generosity and support which makes the exhibition possible.”

“Hurfords are proud to have been involved in the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize since 2012. It is magnificent to see the growth of its popularity now attracting entries from every state & territory  across Australia as well as plenty of local entries. We look forward to a very diverse & stimulating exhibition." say sponsors, Gaela and Andrew Hurford.

Todd Fuller ,  Billy's Swan   2017, video still, chalk and charcoal animation and video, 5:37 mins, courtesy the artist and MAY SPACE, Sydney

Todd Fuller, Billy's Swan  2017, video still, chalk and charcoal animation and video, 5:37 mins, courtesy the artist and MAY SPACE, Sydney

Adlington says, “Lismore Regional Gallery has also provided a $1000 People’s Choice Award which will be awarded to the artist with the highest number of public votes”. Prizes are controversial by nature, after all.  

2018 Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize finalists
Abbey McCulloch, Amanda Bromfield, Amanda Penrose Hart, Andre Bowen, Anne-Marie Zanetti, Ashley Frost, Caroline Zilinsky, Chelsea Gustafsson, Chris Hazell, Clara Adolphs, Clare Thackway, Corinna Berndt, David Wells, Dr Darien Midwinter, Fleur Diamond, Geoff Harvey, Georgi Milln, Guy Morgan, Hilary Herrmann and James Guppy, Ian Roberts, Ildiko Hammond, Jacklyn Wagner, James Bowles-Leeson, James J De Weaver, Jane Theau, Jenny Johns, John Smith and Nikky-Morgan Smith, Karen Preston, Kendal Gear, Kenneth Craig Lambert, KHR Stewart, Kylie Foley, Lisa Axiotis, Liz Stute, Lucas Wright, Lucila Zentner, Lynden Stone, Marc Stapelberg, Marian Drew, Martin Claydon, Martin Edge, Matilda Michell, Matthew O'Brien, Maya Veit, Meg K Nielsen, Michael Simms, Nic Mason, Nicholas Ferguson, Nicole Kelly, Nicole Monks, Raimond de Weerdt, Raj Panda, Rene Bolten, Rikki Fisher, Robert Malherbe, Ryan Mugan, Sachin Moncrieff, Samuel Condon, Stephen Nothling, Steven Giese, Symone Male, Thomas Readett, Todd Fuller, Tony Kearney, Tony Leitch, Trinity Leonard, Vanessa White, Virginia Hodgkinson, Zom Osborne
Saturday 28 July, 12:00 midday
Official opening and winner announcement by Dr Michael Brand, Director, Art Gallery NSW

Byron Comics Illustrator Shortlisted

Local Byron Bay Artist Holly English has been shortlisted for The 2018 Ledger Awards (Australian Comics Awards) with her comic book Byron Bay, a Time and Place, announced at OzComic-Con in Melbourne last weekend.


Holly has also made the comic book The Book of Wonder and the petite zine Curious Places I've Made Love. She is now creating her new comic, Octopus and Lamb, due Spring 2018.

All her comics are available online at, Junky Comics, Brisbane and Sticky Institute, Melbourne.

Holly is a long-term local Byron Bay artist, Illustrator and creator.

Art Piece Gallery's Inaugural 30x30 Art Prize Winners Revealed

Saturday evening revealed the (joint!) Winners of the inaugural Art Piece Gallery 30x30 Art Prize: Kat Shapiro Wood, and Vanessa Stockhard.

The $6000 prize will be divided between the two artists. As expected, a huge crowd turned out to witness the announcement. The previous day, judges Susi Muddiman OAM and artist Amanda Penrose Hart, winner of the 2017 Gallipoli art prize had considered all 230 pieces, and after much deliberation, decided to equally divide the First Prize between two artists. The exhibition of finalists will be on view at the gallery until January 22 2018.

The Winners:

Joint First Prize

Kat Shapiro Wood  Hover, encaustic on board, 30 x 30 cm

Kat Shapiro Wood
Hover, encaustic on board, 30 x 30 cm

Other awards:

Best Still Life in Show
Nick Coulson
Still Life with Jug, Hallway and Windows I
acrylic and graphite on board
30 x 30 cm

Highly Commended Awards
Gaia Barnatan
Head in the clouds
30 x 30 cm(framed)

Clare Purser
Fassifern Valley III
oil and mixed media on board,
30 x 30 cm(framed)

Gaia Barnatan,  Head in the clouds

Gaia Barnatan, Head in the clouds

People's Choice Award
Kindly sponsored by The Mullumbimby Chamber of Commerce
This is a newly added prize of $500.00 and is only available
by voting in person, at the gallery.

This new, national, non-acquisitive prize is for a 2D work of art in any medium measuring 30x 30 cm.

Vanessa Stockard  Pleasure and Pain, acrylic on board 30 x 30 cm (framed)

Vanessa Stockard
Pleasure and Pain, acrylic on board
30 x 30 cm (framed)

Nick Coulson  Still Life with Jug, Hallway and Windows I

Nick Coulson
Still Life with Jug, Hallway and Windows I

Clare Purser ,  Fassifern Valley III

Clare Purser, Fassifern Valley III

The Walls #PRIZENOPRIZE 2017 Artists Announced



Opening Saturday 2 December 5 - 8pm


*Opening night only performance by VEOPLE **Stone & Wood Beer and Miami Mimosa's on the house all eve!  Exhibition continues until 16 December, 2017

Keep your eyes on the no-prize! #PRIZENOPRIZE returns for a second year.

Riding along the undercurrents of Turner Prizes and Archibalds, #PRIZENOPRIZE is an exhibition that champions and democratises art across all media and levels. Think of it as a soft power alternative to the head-churning, nail-biting process that comes with applying for art awards - or being shortlisted for the coveted Bachelor rose of the artworld.

There is no prize money, entry fee or % commission on sales; instead this is an open platform for contemporary and experimental artists (especially emerging artists) across Australia to exhibit/perform at THE WALLS this December -- a prize in itself! They'll be showcasing a cross-section of works, including multi-disciplinary, projection and moving-image based, performance and large-scale installation works.

From Here to There: Australian art and walking

BAM Associate Editor Sharne Wolff and Contributor Jane Denison have been commissioned by Lismore Regional Gallery to develop the curatorial concept From Here to There: Australian Art and Walking due to their shared interest in walking and art.

Lismore Regional Gallery has been selected as the Dobell Exhibition Grant for 2018 for the exhibition curated by Wolff and Denison.

The exhibition will present eight leading Australian artists who incorporate the everyday act of walking in their art. The first of its kind in Australia, the exhibition features work by Lauren Brincat, Dean Brown, Daniel Crooks, Agatha Gothe-Snape, Alex Karaconji, Noel McKenna, Sarah Mosca and Liam O’Brien.

Lauren Brincat, This Time Tomorrow, Tempelhof, 2011, Documentation of an action. Single-channel digital video, colour, audio, 5’:19” Image courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery

Lauren Brincat, This Time Tomorrow, Tempelhof, 2011, Documentation of an action. Single-channel digital video, colour, audio, 5’:19” Image courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery

The works are selected on two criteria: an artwork based on a visual reference to the act of walking, or an artwork produced as the result of walking. For example, the act of walking is forefront in Daniel Crooks’ spliced video productions that investigate walking as motion and in Dean Brown’s works that depict solitary walking figures. Artworks produced as a consequence of walking include Noel McKenna’s detailed drawings of observations from his suburban walks, and Sarah Mosca’s delicate photographs that record the warmth and feel of the artist’s moving body.

The Dobel Exhibition Grant will enable From Here to There to reach its full potential, to bring important Australian artists to Lismore’s regional community and support public programs that demystify the works, educate audiences and provide a range of easily accessible activities to explore how walking can unleash creative adventures.

This funding will also allow the exhibition to expand to include more works of greater scale and the commissioning of two significant new works. It will also support a residency for one artist which will enable the production of a new work relevant to the local area, an artist talk and a guided map-making activity for audiences.

The Dobell Exhibition Grant, supported by the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation, offers $40,000 in funding to one regional NSW gallery per annum. The program aims to support high-quality exhibitions that speak to a broad audience across NSW. To assist in expanding appreciation for the visual arts, these exhibitions should be supported by innovative public and education programs that creatively engage both artists and the community.

Read more about the Dobell Exhibition Grant



The Foundation was formed in 1971 from the artist’s bequest with instructions that “a Foundation be established for the benefit and promotion of art in NSW."

Since then, the Foundation has sponsored a wide variety of projects and is best known for the Dobell Drawing Prize, which ran for 20 years at the Art Gallery of NSW and evolved into the new Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial in 2014.

The Foundation supports acquisitions to public collections, as well as publications, films and educational programs, including the annual Year 11 student Dobell Drawing School held with the National Art School.


The Dobell Exhibition Grant is supported by the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation and managed by Museums & Galleries of NSW.


Entries for #PRIZENOPRIZE close this Sunday

POUNCE ON THE PRIZE: Entries for #PRIZENOPRIZE close this Sunday 12 November

An open call for a group show at The Walls Gallery, Gold Coast



*Entries close this Sunday 12 November at 11:11pm AEST
**Exhibition dates 2 - 16 December, 2017

Keep your eyes on the no-prize! #PRIZENOPRIZE returns for a second year.

Riding along the undercurrents of Turner Prizes and Archibalds, #PRIZENOPRIZE is an exhibition that champions and democratises art across all media and levels. Think of it as a soft power alternative to the head-churning, nail-biting process that comes with applying for art awards - or being shortlisted for the coveted Bachelor rose of the artworld.

There is no prize money, entry fee or % commission on sales; instead this is an open platform for contemporary and experimental artists (especially emerging artists) across Australia to exhibit/perform at THE WALLS this December -- which we think is a prize in itself. We're keen to showcase a cross-section of works, including cross-disciplinary, projection and moving-image based, performance and large-scale installation works.


Post a sample of your work (image, sound, text or moving image) to Instagram and tag @thewallsgc and hashtag #PRIZENOPRIZE. In the caption, add your  Artwork Title, Year, Medium, Size/ Duration, followed by your Artist Name, Location, and Website or Instagram handle. Alternatively you can email your entry to or DM us on Insta like a secret squirrel.

We will announce the finalists on Instagram and The Walls website on Friday 17 November. If you are selected, we’ll tag you on Instagram and get in touch shortly after to discuss your participation in the show.

The not-so-fine print:

*Artists much be over the age of 16 and a resident of Australia

*Works on paper and photographs must be framed for exhibition purposes

*All works must be delivered to THE WALLS for exhibition by 29 November

*THE WALLS will cover the cost of returning the artworks by freight where necessary

*THE WALLS has limited resources - you may need to provide appropriate equipment for the presentation of new media works. Please consider this when applying

*THE WALLS and guest curator's decisions are final

**By participating in #PRIZENOPRIZE, you agree to THE WALLS recording and reproducing images and video footage of your artwork for promotional and documentation purposes. Work will always be credited, and, where possible, we will tag you on social media.


Opening night events are held from 5 - 8pm on the first Saturday of the month from March through to December. We're open Thursday to Saturday 11am - 4pm during exhibitions, or by appointment. Closed public holidays. 

Ashley Frost wins 2017 Mosman Art Prize Viewers’ Choice Prize

Ashley Frost (NSW) has won The Viewers’ Choice 2017 Mosman Art Prize with Tradies Sublime.

It is a richly layered and colourful painting that pays quiet homage to the humble worker whose early morning starts regularly witness perhaps the most visually beautiful time of the day – sunrise.


The exhibition is still on view, but closes this Sunday, October 29 at 3pm.

Congratulating Frost on his win, John Cheeseman, Director Mosman Art Gallery said, “Ashley’s urban morning landscape was the clear winner at this year’s Viewers’ Choice. With the Mosman Art Prize showcasing the best examples of contemporary painting in Australia, the exhibition continues to draw large attendances and significant public support. We’ve hosted almost 12,000 visitors this year and there is no thought of the Prize slowing down, especially as it celebrates its 70th year.”

The Mosman Art Society has once again generously supported this award with a $1000 cash prize.

The 2017 Mosman Art Prize presented 88 finalists from 850 entries across Australia. This year’s guest judge Kirsten Paisley, Deputy Director, National Gallery of Australia, awarded the major acquisitive prize of $50,000 to Sydney artist, Jumaadi for his multi-panelled work, “Some kind of record”.

Upon hearing the news, Thirroul based Frost said, “It is an honour to receive this award from the Mosman Art Society and I’m grateful to Mosman Council and the Art Gallery for their continued support of this highly recognised national art prize and its bringing together of artists, art and audiences.”

Celebrating 70 years in 2017, Mosman Art Prize is the longest running, continuous municipal art prize in Australia. Proud of its rich history in fostering emerging and established artists the Prize is Mosman Art Gallery’s flagship annual exhibition.

2017 MOSMAN ART PRIZE - exhibition runs to Sunday 29 October
closing 3:00PM LAST DAY

Free admission.
Mosman Art Gallery, 1 Art Gallery Way, Mosman, NSW, 2088
PH: 02 9978 4178

Rosie's life lines reel in Olive Cotton people's choice prize

Michael Cook's close-up portrait Memories has been voted the public's favourite in the Olive Cotton Award People's Choice Award, with visitors describing it as a "profound" and "powerful" image.


The well-known Sunshine Coast photographer was thrilled with the news and indicated he would be giving the $250 winner's prize to Rosie, the subject of his black and white portrait.

Visitors to the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre said the detailed portrait effectively captured Rosie's character by starkly depicting what a number of voters described as her "life lines".

Cook described Rosie as a beautiful person who kindly introduced him to bush tucker and is everyone's favourite grandmother in her community.

"I wanted to capture her beauty physically and within. I think the photograph allows the viewer to not only see a lifetime of memories but to actually feel who she is beyond appearance," he said.

The People's Choice Award, funded by the Friends of the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc, helped wrap up this year's Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture.

Hundreds of visitors to the exhibition took the opportunity to vote for their favourite work from the 72 finalists, which were on display at the Tweed Regional Gallery until 8 October.

Voting was close, with the portrait Trevor Jamieson by Brett Canet-Gibson of WA just 30 votes behind.

The biennial competition reinforced its claim as Australia's top photographic portraiture prize by attracting record entries this year. Entrants ranged from many high-profile photographers to a strong field of emerging artists, including the Olive Cotton Award's youngest finalist, 12-year-old local Ari Messina.

The end of this year's exhibition also brought to a close a 'selfie' competition to promote the new social media pages for the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre.

Sherry Mackay won a Tweed Regional Gallery prize pack, featuring Margaret Olley merchandise, for snapping herself with her favourite portrait, featuring actor and comedian Bill Bailey.

Sarah K8 @cloudcatcher15 chose Anita Modok's portrait, in absentia: Judy Cassab's bedroom, for her selfie on Instagram and won a $100 food and drinks voucher from the Gallery Cafe. She said the colours, composition and texture are "absolutely divine".

"I could totally move in and make it my own room!!" she said.

Sally Anderson Wins Brett Whiteley Scholarship 2017

Sally Anderson has been awarded the prestigious Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship 2017.


Anderson wins $40,000 and a three month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris administered by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Sally joins fellow Edwina Corlette Gallery artists Lucy O'Doherty (2016), Belem Lett (2010) and Amber Wallis (2008) all of whom are previous recipients of the Award. Anderson's next exhibition at Edwina Corlette Gallery will be held in February 2018.

Surprising results for 2017 Les Peterkin Prize

The enormous talent of Tweed and Byron primary school students will again be celebrated by the annual Les Peterkin Portrait Prize, on show at the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre from 22 September - 4 December 2017.

The Prize, one of the Gallery's most popular exhibitions, has again attracted an enormous number of entries and participating schools this year.


Working on the theme Surprise!, primary school students sketched, collaged, photographed and painted images that capture their unique character and depict an unexpected moment in their lives. Students explored an experience that frightened, excited or even shocked them.

First place winners: Tahmina Barikai (5-7 Years) from Byron Community Primary School, Nathan Singh (8-10 Years) from Murwillumbah Public School and Nilon Jordan (11-13 Years) from Tweed Valley Adventist College.

This year's submissions were a true indication that art in Tweed schools is alive and well, prize coordinator Marianne Galluzzo said. "The high standard of works submitted displayed great imagination in subject matter and in the use of materials. This is why I would like to congratulate every child who submitted an entry, because everyone showed a genuine and extremely talented attempt to produce a work of art."

All 37 award-winning and commended artworks will be professionally framed and featured in the exhibition. Another 180 outstanding works will be displayed in folios for the duration of the exhibition.


The creativity and effort of every child who entered the competition greatly impressed the 2017 panel of judges: local artists Arna Baartz and Tamsin Ainslie, primary school teacher Lurleen Badger, Tweed Regional Gallery staff representative Molly Green, Tyalgum Public School representative and artist Melissa Howarth, and education support officer Ronalda Combo.

The Prize is named after legendary Tweed artist and art teacher Les Peterkin, and made possible by the financial support of Tweed Shire Council,Tyalgum Public School, Friends of the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc., Derivan, School Art Supplies and Bunnings.

Tweed Regional Gallery will host the official opening and prize-giving ceremony on Thursday 21 September, one of its biggest events of the year. Children, family and friends are invited to enjoy the antics of roving magician and balloon animal creator Shorty Brown and watch high school student Ella McDermott create live caricatures for six lucky ticket winners from 3.30pm-4.30pm.

At 4.30pm, the exhibition will be officially opened by Tyalgum Public School Principal Janelle Cloherty, before Les Peterkin joins Ms Galluzzo and Friends of the Gallery President Penny Hall to announce the winners.


Glenfiddich Announces 2017 Winner of Artist in Residence Competition

Glenfiddich has announced Elyse de Valle as the 2017 Winner of the Australian Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Program.


Open to the Australian arts community for the third year, the competition invited artists across the country to enter their work using any array of mediums, including but not limited to print, photography, animation, performance and installation.

The Australian winners of the 2015 and 2016 residencies were Joan Ross and Stanislava Pinchuk respectively, two acclaimed and renowned artists. In fact, this year Joan Ross won the John Sulman Prize, an award that is considered the country’s third highest art prize and is announced in conjunction with the Archibald Award, further highlighting the calibre of artists that are attracted to the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize program.

This year’s prize winner was selected by an assembly of illustrious judges, with Barry Keldoulis (Group Fairs Director) leading the panel alongside Evan Williams (CEO of Williams Land Trust), Dr. Gene Sherman (Chairman and Executive Director of the Sherman Contemporary Arts Foundation), Mark Hughes (art advisor) and legendary actress Rachel Griffiths. The judges were extremely impressed by the quality of the entries, and the five finalists were announced as Belem Lett, Elyse De Valle, Hiromi Tango and Craig Walsh, Lillian O’Neil, and Penelope Cain.

The residency will take place in 2018 where De Valle will have the opportunity to live and work for three months at the Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown, Scotland alongside other winning artists from all over the globe.

Upon finding out she won the Residency, De Valle said, “I’m so excited for this opportunity to spend some time at the Glenfiddich Distillery as the chosen Australian artist in Residence. I look forward to engaging with its rich history and the surrounding community of Dufftown. Memory and narrative play a key role in my work and I hope to share some great stories and shared experiences during my time there, maybe even over a whisky or two. This, along with the extensive archives kept by Glenfiddich, will lead me along interesting paths for my work. I cannot thank the William Grant & Sons Group and the Glenfiddich Distillery enough for this opportunity."

De Valle is an emerging Melbourne based artist who utilises materials and sites to express the conceptual concerns of her practice. De Valle’s work explores little known narratives that permit her contemplation of creative labour, memories, loss and experience. It is often a pursuit to trace and respond to social history, reflecting on how memory is encoded directly and indirectly within the built form.

She completed a Bachelor of Fine Art with First Class Honours in 2012 and a Masters of Fine Art in 2015 at Monash University. De Valle has held numerous group shows around Melbourne, and her first solo show, The frames that remain, was exhibited at Bus Projects in Melbourne earlier this year. Her natural talent has also earned her travel grants to undertake residencies in San Francisco, USA and in Carrara and Noepoli, Italy.

De Valle took first place following a final tally of votes and a concluding round of judging by Artist in Residence Program Curator, Andy Fairgrieve — the colourful, dreadlocked-guy-in-a-kilt who helps the winning artist bring their work to life.

“With our Australian/New Zealand open call now in its third year, it is no surprise that as the awareness of this great opportunity spreads, the number and quality of entrants has increased dramatically. The 2017 residency call easily produced the highest standard of applicants seen so far, which of course made the final selection no easy task. As always I am incredibly grateful to the jury panel who whittled down the applicants to the final five as I am to the organisers of Sydney Contemporary for providing such a wonderful platform to showcase our residency,” says Andy. “With such a strong showing of talent in our five finalists, the winning choice was no easy matter. Of course we can only select one artist but in the end, it was the craft and skill of Elyse’s talent that won the day. I am sure her practice is one that will be fully appreciated by the skilled crafts persons who work at Glenfiddich and for her part I know the exposure to the historic architecture of Scotland will feed and inspire her residency.“

Since the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Contest began in 2002, Andy has mentored more than 100 artists through the distillery doors, each one of them always viewing and interpreting the distillery with their own unique view.


New Prize Announced for 2018: The Morris Art Prize

2018 will be the inaugural year for The Morris, with a $10,000 first place prize and the theme 'Brisbane to Byron'.

The prize will be judged by Damian Hackett. Hackett has over 25 years experience in public and commercial galleries and the fine art auction market. He is now Executive Director of Deutscher and Hackett one of Australia’s leading fine art auction houses, with galleries in Sydney and Melbourne. 





Northern Rivers artists selected to exhibit in 2017 SWELL Festival

The SWELL Sculpture Festival – Queensland’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition – is celebrating its 15th year on the Gold Coast (September 8-17). This year, several Northern NSW artists have been selected to exhibit.  

SWELL will see the golden sands of Currumbin Beach transformed into alandscape of interactive and inspiring public art amid a carnival atmosphere of live entertainment, street food, artist talks and masterclasses for all ages.  

The 10-day exhibition will see up to 50 Australian and international artists display thought-provoking works plotted along a 1km stretch of coastline, highlighting a range of social, environmental and contemporary issues.


Alison Allcock

Alison Allcock

Alison Allcock, Brunswick Heads, Surf Warriors

Emerging artist Alison works with materials and objects found in her neighbourhood. For this year’s SWELL Sculpture Festival, she is creating a sculpture out of pre-loved surfboards.  Drawing inspiration from the objects themselves, her work involved transformation, in this case from surf boards to an armoury of arrows, spears and harpoons.  Alison believes these pre-loved Surfboards have a story and can tell us so much about the Gold Coast’s surfing culture.  “Once regarded as an alternative or fringe activity, these pieces stand as a salute to the pioneers of the Gold Coast’s surfing culture. They are free spirited surf ‘warriors’ who explored the coast in a quest to find and conquer the perfect wave”. 


Gabriel Rosita

Gabriel Rosita

Gabriel Rosita, Suffolk Park, Knight To

Artist Gabriel Rosita is creating a whimsical sculpture of a Knight, out of mixed media.  The artist is creating the piece to impact viewers emotions in a mixed way.  She wants them to see the beauty of the copper, then the conflicting beauty of the rusty steel sheets, imprinted with their own language and history, and finally to experience the power of the horse.


Jeanette Krohn, Byron Bay, Post-Tree Museum II

Artist Jeanette Krohn is hoping to make a strong environmental statement with her sculpture ‘Post-Tree Museum ll’.  This is the second piece in her Post-Tree Museum series, the first piece (Post Tree Museum l) was a testament to the original ‘Big Scrub’ forests of the Northern Rivers.  ‘Post-Tree Museum II’ is 10 years later and the forests of the world are in a much more precarious position. The Trees this time are therefore made of glass.



Lance Seadon, Billinudgel, Currumbin Cruisin

Lance Seadon

Lance Seadon

Lance is creating a series of Billy Carts for the SWELL Sculpture Festival, just like the ones he used to make when growing up in the 50’s with no computers -  this is a whimsical look at the Billy Cart era of his childhood. He is creating a six individual and unique Billy Carts exploring the use of recycled and 'junk' materials arranged to convey a sense of drama, movement and excitement; capturing the imagination of young and old alike.

Local photographer, 12, becomes youngest Olive Cotton finalist

The list of finalists for the Olive Cotton Award in 2017 features many of the biggest names in Australian portrait photography, but it has also continued the emergence of a talented young local.

In 2014, Ari Messina was a winner in Tweed Regional Gallery's Les Peterkin prize for portraits for local primary school children.

Fast forward just three years and Messina, now aged 12, has become the youngest finalist for the Olive Cotton Award, which has been touted as Australia's leading prize in portrait photography.

His piece, Dark Side of a Girl, hangs among the other 71 finalists for 2017, on exhibition in Tweed Regional Gallery until Sunday 8 October.

Ari Messina, right.

Ari Messina, right.

Messina said his selection as a finalist was a "really big surprise".

"I wasn't expecting it to be a finalist. I was shocked at first but it felt so good," he said. "At the time I took it, I didn't have any intention to enter it in the Olive Cotton Awards, but after I looked at it on the computer, my mum and I knew it would be good to enter."

Messina said he was exposed to photography from a very early age because his grandfather and uncle are both photographers.

"Being immersed in it really got me to enjoy taking photos," he said.

Messina says he does not have any particularly ambitions with his photography. "Right now I am just enjoying taking photos and learning how to use my camera."

Ari Messina's  Dark Side of a Girl

Ari Messina's Dark Side of a Girl

Still: National Still Life Award Reveals Judge

Fresh from judging Australia’s richest landscape art award, Lisa Slade from the Art Gallery of South Australia will next judge Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery’s very first Still: National Still Life Award.

“We’re delighted that Lisa agreed to judge the inaugural Award. It’s a significant national prize so it’s fitting to have a judge with a national viewpoint. Having someone of Lisa’s experience and renown is a great drawcard for artists,” said Cath Fogarty, Council’s Gallery Services Coordinator.

Lisa Slade is Assistant Director, Artistic Programmes, at the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide. During her time at the Gallery she has curated and co-curated several exhibitions and managed the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art in both 2012 and 2014, before curating the 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Magic Object. Lisa is also the Chair of Artlink Australia and a recent appointment to the National Cultural Heritage Committee.

Lisa Slade photographed by Sven Kovak

Lisa Slade photographed by Sven Kovak

This year, the Art Gallery of South Australia presented its own innovative national award, the first Ramsay Art Prize, a $100,000 acquisitive award for artists under 40. The Ramsay Prize signals that South Australia is a key place to watch for new directions in contemporary art. This year’s finalists included Tony Albert, Julie Frager, Justine Varga and winner Sarah Contos.

Still: National Still Life Award’s call for entries closes on Friday August 18 and is currently attracting entries from all around Australia.

“Because Still: National Still Life Award is open to all mediums, not just painting, we are also attracting a great diversity of entries,” said Ms Fogarty.  “Following the closing date, a shortlist of finalists will be selected by a panel of Gallery staff and independent art collectors.”

For further information on how to enter, go to

The Still: National Still Life Award exhibition will be on show at Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery from November 25, 2017.

Guy Maestri chats to BAM

Sydney painter Guy Maestri won the Archibald Prize in 2009, and has now been announced a 2017 Wynne Prize Finalist. He chats to BAM about his nomination, and his residency at the Margaret Olley Centre earlier this year.

BAM.  Congratulations on being a Wynne Prize Finalist. Please tell us about Self Portrait for Posterity.

Maestri.  With these works, I am playing with the idea of the heroic classical bust and questioning what use there is in leaving a lasting reproduction of my own image for future generations. These sculptures are originally made in clay and then cast in bronze and painted. So they are very permanent, but appear malleable and ephemeral.

Guy Maestri,  Self portrait (for posterity)  2017,  bronze, 60.0 x 24.0 x 40.0 cm.  Courtesy of the artist and Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane.

Guy Maestri, Self portrait (for posterity) 2017,  bronze, 60.0 x 24.0 x 40.0 cm.  Courtesy of the artist and Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane.

BAM.  What were highlights of your residency at the Margaret Olley Centre?

Maestri.  It was a privilege to be there, looking over that magnificent valley to Wollumbin in the distance, and to have such access to the gallery and a great studio to live and work in. I live in the heart of Sydney, so that in itself was a highlight. But I originally went there to investigate the surrounding area and make landscape work about it, however, I was inevitably drawn to the incredible recreation of Margaret Olley's home and studio. And with access to that space and permission to borrow objects to paint from, my focus shifted to these precious things, and to making intimate works about them.

Echo  installation. Courtesy of the artist and Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane.

Echo installation. Courtesy of the artist and Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane.

 BAM.  Your exhibition Echo recently closed at the Tweed Regional Gallery. What was the process of developing the concept, and choosing the pieces for the show?

Maestri.  The show became all about objects and their meaning, and also intimate space. I knew the exhibiting space that I would be using and it is this beautifully dark, quiet gallery space with dark grey walls and museum quality lighting. This had a great influence on the work I made, and on the pieces I chose to exhibit. I wanted it to feel like a museum, with relics and documents. I became interested in the flowers in Margaret's house, and of course the only ones remaining are her plastic ones, but what does it matter when you're making paintings of them? They become another form of reproduction anyway, but also an extension. I also thought a lot about my own grandmother's house, and what remained after she was gone, and the things I now have and cherish from that home. Everyday things with huge personal value to me. And so the show became about preservation too. And reflection. And of course, about painting. The joy of painting. Reinvigorated in me from being in Olley's world.

Echo  installation. Courtesy of the artist and Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane.

Echo installation. Courtesy of the artist and Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane.

Congratulations Robyn Sweaney, 2017 Wynne Prize Finalist

Robyn Sweaney has been announced a Finalist in the 2017 Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

"Time and tide is from a series of paintings that I am currently working on about the Australian coastal landscape. These paintings are about time past and the promise of slowing down in the future; the anticipation, contemplation, sunlight and shadows, still salt air and silent static moments.

Time and tide  2017, acrylic on linen, 40 x 50 cm. Image courtesy Anthea Polson Art.

Time and tide 2017, acrylic on linen, 40 x 50 cm. Image courtesy Anthea Polson Art.

Approaching the landscape as a living vessel of memory, the work considers how certain places conjure images from the past, tempered with the transient shadow of the present. They express personal embedded ideas about my own experiences of place and of those that have been here before.” Artist Statement: Robyn Sweaney, 2017

Read Robyn Sweaney's full interview in BAM Spring '16 Issue

"We were delighted to host Robyn's Fade to Blue exhibition in 2016 which formed part of this body of work," said Anthea Polson Art, on the Gold Coast. "Robyn is extremely accomplished and throughout her career has won or been a finalist in a significant number of prestigious Australian art prizes. We encourage you to consider Robyn for your own collection."

2017 Olive Cotton Award Winner Justine Varga provides insight into her controversial win

Justine Varga has said that she could feel tension in the room when she was announced the winner of the 2017 Olive Cotton Award.

The prestigious prize for photographic portraiture was awarded to Ms Varga, despite the image not depicting a face, and a camera wasn’t used.  The judge, Dr Shaun Lakin, gave generous reasoning for his decision, which seemed to relax the crowd at the award ceremony. But the fallout was immediate. The Sydney Morning Herald ran a front page story titled 'Olive Cotton Award: Photographic portrait prize awarded to image without a face', and later, 'Justine Varga's Olive Cotton prize: questions of art over a grandmother's prizewinning scrawl'. Even The Times UK weighed in: "In fact, there’s little human about the work’s sqiggles and smears".

Here, Ms Varga provides BAM with her perspective.

BAM.  Please tell us your thoughts on why the piece is a portrait.
Varga.  “I thought the judge for this year’s Olive Cotton Award, Shaun Lakin, was very eloquent in explaining why he thought my photograph was indeed a portrait and I can do no better than quote his words:

‘The winning photograph is a really extraordinary photographic portrait, but one that withholds from us the physical appearance of its subject. Instead of showing us what the subject looks like, it uses her handwriting and her saliva to build a very moving portrait not just of a person — in this case, the artist’s elderly grandmother — but also of a relationship between two extraordinary women.
So, I know that Justine Varga’s photograph Maternal Line will confound a few of you, and no doubt some people will be dismayed that a photograph that does not actually ‘show’ its subject can win Australia’s most important photographic portrait prize. But the basic facts are that this work is, more than most — in fact I would say above all — of the photographs in this exhibition, profoundly photographic. Not just in the way that it relies on photography’s historical processes — film and the darkroom — but also in the way that it engages with the idea of the photograph as a trace of its subject. Our emotion and psychic relationship to photographs of loved ones is often based on the fact that they stood or sat there in front of the camera — that their body left its imprint or image on the photographic print. This is part of photography’s power. Think especially of a photograph of a parent who has died — their body was there, and the photograph is evidence of this.
Here, we have the most basic photographic trace — an elderly woman writing directly onto the photographic plate, and making marks with her saliva, creating a portrait which has been exquisitely printed to a monumental scale. While it looks abstract, it is, as the artist says in her statement, profoundly realistic.
In the end, the thing that ‘got’ me about this photograph was the way that it engaged me emotionally — in the direct experience of it. Again, you really need to stand before the print, which is so beautiful, and so melancholic in its way. To be able to witness and share a moment of significant emotional and cultural exchange between two women at such different points in their lives, both of whom have equally created this photograph.’

Justine Varga (b.1984) Maternal Line 2017, chromogenic hand printed photograph from 5 x 4 inch negative. Courtesy of the artist and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide. Tweed Regional Gallery collection. © The artist

Justine Varga (b.1984) Maternal Line 2017, chromogenic hand printed photograph from 5 x 4 inch negative. Courtesy of the artist and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide. Tweed Regional Gallery collection. © The artist

How did you come to the idea of creating this piece?
Varga.  "The form of my work is often determined by the circumstances in which I am living and working. At the moment I am spending a lot of time living with my grandmother and so I get to closely observe her. I try and make my photography an extension of my life, not something that is separate from it. Photography is something that is always with me. In fact, I can safely say that my entire way of being centres around it. In this instance, I brought a piece of photographic film, a negative, into my grandmother’s home and had her leave her own inscriptions on it. Her actions on the piece of film, so redolent of her character, of her love of doing things, of her way of always keeping busy, allowed me to conjure out of a piece of light-sensitive film a powerful portrait of the kind of person she is. I also chose this action because I wanted the marks that she made onto the negative surface to be automatic — I didn’t want her to get in the way of herself by feeling like she had to perform and make a work of art. As within all of my photography, there was only one attempt at this work. This is because my photography is about the action it is recording and not what looks most aesthetically pleasing. It simply is what it is. But the idea behind the portrait goes even further than gesture alone. With the trace of her hand and a touch of her saliva she is manifest within and as the photograph. In other words, there is no separation between her and the photographic object. When she is no longer of this world I will still always have her with me. If you close your eyes and imagine a loved one, I can almost guarantee that the impression you will find won’t be crisp and clear — it will be muffled and somewhat muted, just a memory of a gesture or the sound of a laugh, yet somehow you know it is them. My photography evokes this kind of sensation and I can’t express how close I feel to my grandmother when I view Maternal Line. Through it, I am nearer to her than any of the many lens-based photographs I have of her.

What is your feeling and reaction to the controversy?
Varga.  "I don’t court controversy but do insist on making the kind of work I feel is necessary. I think everyone benefits if the community is thinking about and debating issues — What is a portrait? What is a photograph? — as long as that debate takes place in a considered manner.

Is this sort of wide experimentation a frequent part of your process?
Varga.  "I am always seeking to direct my work into new areas. And really, this stems from a deep love for the photographic medium — I want to explore what a photograph is and what it is capable of retaining. As making photographs is my full time occupation, I would hate to know what each and every work was going to be and look like before it is finished — how incredibly boring! So, yes, experimentation of various kinds is fundamental to my work. This means sometimes I use a camera and sometimes I don’t, but with either method I am always pushing my concepts, along with the photographic materials and equipment I use, to an extreme. For an example, the negative from which the print of Maternal Line derives is incredibly over-exposed — it has been handled in the most uncouth manner. I have used a photographic process to collaborate with my subject in an effort to capture her more intensely than I otherwise might have been able to do. The resultant work that is currently on display at Tweed Regional Gallery, hung among my peers, for whom I have such enormous respect, is a culmination of all my experimentation with the medium to date."

Varga's large-scale work in homage to her grandmother won the $20,000 overall prize for the 2017 Olive Cotton Award, announced in an official opening and presentation ceremony at Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah on Saturday July 22.