Canberra artists top prestigious art prize

Media release: Thursday, 15 September 2016

Four artists from the Canberra region are among the top entrants in the revamped Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize, which opens at the National Archives of Australia on 16 September

After a two-year absence, with a new and refreshed format and a wider range of art forms, the competition also now includes an emerging artist's and scientist's choice prize

Canberra artist Dan Power won the Emerging Category in this year's competition, with his piece G[RAZED], a work of pen and ink on a bull skull.

Dan said 'overgrazing and agricultural land clearing erode habitat complexity and, with it, species diversity'. His work features 'endangered native species clinging to existence at the hands of outdated land use and agricultural practices'.

The commended and highly commended works on show also include entries from Canberra and region glass artists Emilie Patteson, Jenny Kemarre Martiniello and Elizabeth Kelly.

'As the only location outside of Adelaide to host the winning works, the National Archives sees visitors returning year after year to view the winners,' said David Fricker, Director-General of the National Archives. 'This is certainly one of the most popular exhibitions we host, encouraging artists to portray the scientific and environmental issues facing our planet. It also complements the Canberra event of Floriade as both highlight the natural beauty around us.'

The Canberra 2016 exhibition presents the 25 winning and highly commended works of the competition. Organised by the South Australian Museum, the Waterhouse offers artists a valuable platform for them to contribute to the environmental debate.

The changes to the prize have resulted in two main award categories: an open prize of $30,000 and an emerging prize of $10,000. Further $5,000 prizes are available for each of the People's Choice Prize and the newly created Scientist's Choice Award.

The winner of the Open Category is Julie deVille of Melbourne with her work, Neapolitan Bonbonaparte, which she described as 'a comment on industrialised animal agriculture'.

'Most people purchase free-range eggs, but there are products containing factory-farmed eggs, including ice-cream (the inspiration for this work), that are not required to be labelled.'

Both the people's choice and scientist's choice categories were won by Bega artist Ulan Murray with Abor Sole, which he said 'reflects the environmental system that relies on a delicate balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen. It evokes a sense of power coupled with fragility.'

The exhibition is on show at the National Archives of Australia, Queen Victoria Terrace, Parkes, ACT from 16 September until 13 November 2016.

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