Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre has announced 80 talented finalists for The 65th Blake Prize – one of Australia’s longest standing and most prestigious prizes. Hailing from across the world and across Australia, the finalists were carefully selected from a whopping 769 entries, a massive 30% increase from 2016.
The Blake Prize takes its name from William Blake, an artist of undoubted genius, who succeeded in integrating the religious and artistic in his work. The prize aims to encourage contemporary artists of varied styles, religious and spiritual allegiances to create significant works of art which engage in conversations and negotiations concerning spirituality and religion.
“We’re extremely excited by the number of entries this year, from so many different countries! This year’s entries came from all across the world, from Belgium, the USA, Norway, Greece, and the UK, by artists from all walks of life,” said CPAC Director Craig Donarski. “The winner of this prestigious prize will be the lucky recipient of $35,000; the winner of the Blake Emerging Artist Prize will also take home a cool $6,000; and the winner of the Blake Established Artist Residency will receive a one-month residency and a solo exhibition at CPAC,” he said.
The Blake Prize exhibition of finalists will be on show at CPAC [Facebook] from 12 May – 1 July will include painting, photography, sculpture, performance, installation and digital media works exploring the wider experience of religion and spirituality and all this may entail.
Artists include: Jonathan Rose and Annette Thas (Ghent, Belgium), whose sound sculpture Everything is a manifestation of Animism, the religious belief that all objects, places and creatures are alive and interconnected; and Matthew Couper (Las Vegas, USA), blending religious iconography with dwindling water statistics in In Memory of Water. Artists from Australian soil include: Petersham, NSW artist Mikala Dwyer (A shape of thought – AGNSW, 2017) exploring faith through Letterbox Saint Jude, a sculpture built to receive messages of hopelessness and despair; and photographer Jacqui Stockdale (Preston, VIC) and her mesmerising Type C photograph The Offering, evoking healing and reconciliation. Paul Snell (Legana, TAS), explores selective sensitisation in contemporary society in Pulse; while painter Mark Tweedie (Mount Lawley, WA) joins the line-up with two oil paintings examining mortality - Now I lay me down, contemplating the death of his grandmother; and It wasn’t supposed to be like this, reflecting on a beloved family friend suffering from a terminal illness. From CPAC’s Western Sydney back yard, Khaled Sabsabi (Bonnyrigg, NSW) presents intimate insight into notions of spirituality with Bonnyrigg Monks. Blue Mountains glass artist Kayo Yokoyama (Blackheath, NSW) converse with the moon referencing Shinto and Japanese mythology in her work Conversation. Indigenous Australian artists share ranging perspectives on religion, with Linda Syddick Napaljarri (Ciccone, NT) and her The Holy Trinity at Walukirritjinya blending Christian and traditional beliefs; and Hayley Millar Baker (St Kilda, VIC) exploring the question, “what would life be like for modern-day Aboriginal people, had their culture not been suppressed by Western religion?” in I’m the Captain Now.