Over 50 finalists announced for the $25,000 Kennedy Prize

More than 50 finalists have been announced for this year’s Kennedy Prize, a national visual art competition aiming to inspire artists to create works of excellence, cultural relevance, commercial value and beauty.

The 2018 Kennedy Prize finalists are: Elinor Alexander, Margaret Ambridge, Daevid Anderson, Louisa Antico, Tamara Armstrong, Anna Bektash, Warren Breninger, Rhett Brewer, Jandamarra Cadd, Jasmine Crisp, Janine Dello, Mark Dober, Michelle Dubois, Phillip Edwards, Sara Farizeh, Genevieve Gadd, Janice Gobey, Helen Godden, Carla Grace, Chelsea Gustafsson, Jessica Guthrie, Angus Hamra, Barbara Harkness, Marek Herburt, Bronwyn Hill, Julie Hobbs, Sean Hutton, Lisa Ingerson, John Klein, Cate Maddy, Harley Manifold, Paul Miller, Alison Mitchell, Logan Moody, Ross Morgan, Peter Francis Noble, Kristy O’Connell, Mignon Philpot, Matthew Quick, Melissa Ritchie, Kerryl Shirley, Geoff Sellman, Todd Simpson, Nick Stathopoulos, Vicki Sullivan, Lauren Sutter, Mark Thompson, Olga Tsara, Dianne Vanstone, Riaghan Waters, Katy Woodroffe, Cathy Yarwood-Mahy and Anne-Marie Zanetti.

2017 Kennedy Prize winner Mertim Gokalp with his work, Get Ready for Dinner

A finalists’ exhibition will be held at the Royal South Australian Society of the Arts at the State Library from 8 to 23 September 2018, open to the general public. Voting for a People’s Choice Award will be conducted during the exhibition, while the Foundation’s Choice will showcase an exciting array of emerging and established Australian artistic talent.

The winning artist will be announced at a private launch event on Friday September 7. They will receive $25,000, and their artwork acquired by the Kennedy Arts Foundation; and at its absolute discretion, auctioned at the next year’s exhibition.

Robert Kennedy (right) with fellow mining executive Ian Gordon and some of his original artworks

Kennedy Prize Founder, Robert Kennedy, passed away in March 2018 after achieving great success as a chartered accountant and director or chairman of eight ASX-listed companies. He was the subject of various paintings and was an artist in his own right after his wife gifted him with art lessons back in 1998.

Kennedy Prize Co-ordinator Mark Kennedy said the competition’s theme – ‘beauty’ – was inspired by his late paternal grandmother, who always found beauty in everyday life; ‘She taught my father that with so much negativity and anger in the world, people often miss the beauty all around them, so in a way it’s an homage to her,’ he said.

‘Beauty can be found everywhere, and it’s the artist’s job to capture and highlight that in their work. It could also be the antithesis of beauty, which many finalists have explored in previous years.

‘It’s such a subjective thing, beauty, so artwork under this theme starts a conversation that ends with people seeing a beauty they may have missed before. That’s what I find truly inspiring about the Kennedy Prize – all of these artists broaden the landscape on what we consider to be beautiful.’