2023 Art Prize Award Winners Announced

Published on Monday, 18 September 2023 at 10:47:09 AM

Northern Territory artist Aaron Pei Pie’s Kamela has won this year’s City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Acquisitional Major Prize.

The announcement was made at Friday night’s awards evening which saw over 200 of the city’s arts community gather to celebrate this year’s entrants and exhibition grand opening.

The winning piece was recognised by this year’s Art Prize judges as an unquestionable standout, with the artist receiving a cash prize total of $20,000.

A total of 158 artists entered the prestigious annual art exhibition which has become a highlight in the WA and National arts calendar.

An additional 10 category winners were also announced and celebrated with a total prize pool of $16,000, supported by the City and local sponsors.

This year’s category winners are:

Acquisitional Major Prize

  • Kamela by Aaron Pei Pie

Judges’ comments: An unquestionable standout. The clarity of shape, colour and narrative describe a relationship with the land that is joyous. The layering of paint conveys a sense of place and life as well as symbolism between humans and animals.

First Nations Art Award

  • Sweating, shaking on Dingo Rock – Northam WA by Emma-Lee Maher

Judges’ comments: An intricate and haunted depiction of an emotional childhood memory. Emma-Lee’s technique is beautiful in portraying a powerful story that goes directly to the heart of Australian gothic. It is haunting, traumatic and real, conveying a physical and psychological experience.

Best Artwork by a Kalgoorlie-Boulder Artist Award

  • Diane by Melissa Drummond

Judges’ comments: Melissa’s work left us in awe, presenting a beautifully balanced portrait that skillfully captures colour, gaze, and texture. The portrait perfectly depicts the subject’s history and personality, evocative of a life well lived.

Emerging Young Artist Award

  • Chloe Richards – Artwork Self Doubt is Never Right

Judges’ comments: We found Chloe’s piece to be charming and whimsical. A contemporary retelling of a classic tale told with clarity and a message of positivity. Chloe’s piece provides a strong narrative that is both inspirational and despairing, reinterpreted for the new generation.

Emerging Artist Award

  • Paige Davey – Artwork You say something?

Judges’ comments: An arresting composition that perfectly evokes the drama, anxiety, and yet boredom of youth. This piece is a genuine reflection on the pressures of youth experiences in a raw and honest way, whilst finding optimism in a dark future. You Say Something effectively referenced pop culture and is a humorous reflection on contemporary technology.

Best Painting Award

  • Friday by Royce Newton

Judges’ comments: Classic, unmediated, and unambiguously Kalgoorlie. We loved the humourous, whimsical, and joyous sense the painting captures. Friday provides an immediately recognisable, charming, and highly relatable render of Friday night frivolity in Kalgoorlie.

Best Photography Award

  • In my dreams… I am dirty, broke, beautiful and free by David Cossini

Judges’ comments: A powerful image that captures human relationships in its simplest form. The piece wonderfully captures warmth, friendship, and joy in the face of discomfort and adversity.

Best Works on Paper Award

  • Between layers by Tatiana Amaral

Judges’ comments: A highly considered and sophisticated use of material. This piece expanded into a sculptural form through layering, texture, and colour. It is an effective use of medium for both ‘on paper’ and ‘with paper’, conveying a sense of place and emotive strata.

Best 3D Works Award

  • Inner-city Gold by David Chambers

Judges’ comments: A delicate and precarious piece. Inner-City Gold is a beguiling representation of the dynamic natural systems that lie beneath our feet. Inner-city Gold describes a sense of place that is both micro and macro, resilient yet fragile, beautiful yet functional. It links what is above and below, finding common ground between human experience and nature.

Best Mixed Media and Textile Award

  • Beverley by Jenelle Basten

Judges’ comments: A labour of love and celebratory sense of memory. Beverley is a heartwarming portrait, showcasing the memories and connections that survive, even after a long period of time. Jenelle clearly embedded her love into every stitch of the piece.

Golden Hands Award

  • Fly in, Fly out town by John Scott

This category winner is selected by the curating team.

Curating team comments: This artwork was selected for its exceptional portrayal of many mining towns as well as his home. The artist ingeniously used trouser zips, also known as fly closures, in a dynamic rotation to symbolise the transient nature of the fly-in, fly-out lifestyle. The voters were captivated by the artist’s meticulous attention to detail and innovative approach to portraying his vision and message.

Mayor John Bowler said the City was honoured to continue hosting this long-standing prestigious event which has celebrated the achievements and outstanding work of local, state, and inter-state artists for over 30 years.

“It is fantastic to see the calibre of talent featured in this year’s Art Prize exhibition and celebrate not only our local artists but also the arts community across our state.”

“As a staple event in the Western Australian arts calendar, we feel great pride in supporting our local artists by providing an opportunity to showcase their creation to both residents and visitors to our city.”

“We’re proud to see the exhibition continues to attract new entrants each year, whilst also featuring the art of those artists we have come to follow and recognise their unique work.”

“The City's investment in the arts continues to grow, as we recognise the importance of growing and strengthening the arts and culture opportunities in our region.”

The judging panel for this year consisted of three well-known figures in the art world: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Annika Kristensen, and Theo Costantino.

The exhibition is open to the public from Saturday 16 September to 20 October 2023, open daily from 10am-3pm except public holidays. Entry is free.

This year’s exhibition includes three additional events, including a free community activity afternoon on Saturday 16 September 2pm-4pm. Two free Yoga in the Gallery sessions at 6pm on Thursday 21 September and Tuesday 26 September, as well as a Sip and Paint session on 12 October, for $50 per person.

Visitors to the exhibition can vote for the People’s Choice Award which will be announced once the exhibition closes.

Image (L-R): Annika Kristensen, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Theo Costantino

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