Byron Shire-based artist Amber Wallis has been awarded the top prize in the inaugural Wollumbin Art Award with a richly complex painting of her daughter entitled Ivy With Eyes.
The winning artist also wins a 2-week residency at the Gallery’s Nancy Fairfax Artist in Residence Studio.
The guest judge for the biennial non-acquisitive $30,000 prize was curator and editor of VAULT magazine, Alison Kubler, who announced the winners at the Tweed Regional Gallery just before 7 pm tonight.
Alison awarded the WAA Bundjalung Award to Tweed-based Bundjalung artist Michael Philp for his painting Pearly Shells. A work in Michael’s signature style, this painting honours the artist’s mother, aunty and grandmother. As part of the award, Michael will also exhibit in a solo show at the Gallery in 2023.
Byron Shire-based artist Mia Forrest received the Emerging Artist Award for her video Red Flowering Gum, in motion, a mesmerizing work that plays with the tradition of still life.
“The Wollumbin Art Award is such an excellent addition to the art prize field in Australia,” Alison said.
“I am really impressed by the quality of the work on display. This award demonstrates both the calibre of the talent pool, artists who hold their own on the national stage and the appetite for supporting local artists. It’s just great to see, and to acknowledge, how many excellent artists live in the region.”
WAA Highly Commended artists included Caleb Reid, Xanthie Dobbie, Michael Donnelly, Zion Levy Stewart, and Marian Tubbs; with Nathan Falk and Amarina Toby receiving a Highly Commended accolade for the Bundjalung Award. Emerging artists Brendan Kelly, Courtney Cook and Zen Staff also received Highly Commended.
Also announced on the night were the winners of the Gallery’s Wollumbin Youth Art Award, with guest judge artist Tamsin Ainslie selecting artworks by young artists Clara Polson (5-8 years); Kya Lansom (9-12 years); Ava Berry Voce (13-15 years); and Elsie Biles (16-18 years).
Young artists receiving Highly Commended awards were Leonardo Ruby (5-8 years); Sadie Eddy (9-12 years); Naomi Jeffery (13-15 years); and Emma Dillon-Lee (16-18 years).
“Creativity and art are hugely important in everybody’s life and encouraging children with their art and creativity is very important,” said WYAA judge Tamsin Ainslie.
“The WYAA is such a great opportunity to encourage, to allow and to give the time and space for young artists to think, create and explore making art.”
Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry, Friends of the Gallery and Gallery Foundation members joined finalists and their families for a night of celebration that also marked the official launch of the Gallery’s Youth Collective.
The Wollumbin Art Award is Tweed Regional Gallery’s new biennial $30,000 award open to artists living in the Tweed, Ballina, Byron, Kyogle and Scenic Rim Shires, as well as Lismore and the City of Gold Coast.
The Wollumbin Youth Art Award is a biennial award for young artists aged 5 to 18 years. The awards, named for the mountain the Gallery overlooks, celebrates the calibre and diversity of artists of the region. Together the awards attracted nearly 700 entries, with 105 artworks selected for the finalist exhibitions.
The WAA finalist exhibition is on view at Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre until Sunday 20 November, with the WYAA closing one week later, on Sunday 27 November. The exhibitions are free to the public and visitors can join some of the WAA finalists for an exhibition walkthrough on Sunday 9 October and Sunday 30 October from 2 pm.
The WAA Bundjalung Award is sponsored by Tweed Regional Gallery Foundation Ltd. The WAA Emerging Artist Award is supported by Leanne and Greg Tong-Lyon. The Wollumbin Youth Art Award is sponsored by the Friends of the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc.