Melbourne-based artist Megan Evans has been awarded the $10,000 Footscray Art Prize for her compelling photograph entitled PARLOUR (2018), which examines the impact of colonisation on identity. Situated in a classic Victorian space, Evans sits with a friend and colleague, Maree Clarke, who is ‘ghosting’ in traditional mourning wear, while the Evans wears a replica of her grandmother’s Victorian dress, embroidering a skull.
The winning work was selected from 33 shortlisted artworks, spanning photography, video, paintings, and sculpture, by a panel of esteemed judges – ACMI’s Katrina Sedgwick, ACCA’s Hannah Presley and VCA’s Raafat Ishak. The trio recognised Evans as an important artist at a significant point in her practice and found themselves lost in the ‘complex storytelling that requires a sustained viewing’ of her award-winning photograph. ‘The responsibility she takes for her history is something deeply embedded in the power of the work’, they continued.
Louis Theuma’s Manhattan, 1952 (2001-2019) received the Highly Commended award. Manhattan 1952 is a piece set within the first decade after World War II, based on what if’s. The what if’s, surrounding the UN, is it to be trusted? The what if’s surrounding the new international style of architecture and the major what if, surrounding the depression.
The panel also selected Justine McCallister’s Dogs of the West as the light-hearted winner of the Street Art category. The work showcases portraits of dogs that frequently visit Martin Reserve dog park in Footscray. This park provides a place for locals to meet, a place for dogs to interact and has provided a place for many rescue dogs to rehabilitate. McAllister visits the park with her two dogs daily. The artwork will be installed on the corner of Irving and Nicholson Streets over the coming weeks and will be able to be viewed from mid-late July.
Natasha Krcevinac’s mum & me (2018) is the winner of the Tertiary category. The video work shows the artist flirting with strangers over Skype calls, filmed in a red room with conversations Krcevinac has with her mother overlayed. Independent creative producer, Simon Spain, selected the winners of the young artist categories from over 160 artworks.
The Young Artist Prize secondary category had joint winners: Ashlin Lyons’ Unconditional (2019), inspired by the unrestricted love between a dog and their owner; and Jessie Sun’s Overwhelmed (2019), communicating the pressure felt by young adults in busy contemporary life. Whereas, Mayo Areej Fujieda took out the Young Artist Prize primary category with Dogs make us all happy (2018), hand-painted porcelain figures – Christmas gifts featuring the artist and her family playing with dogs.
View the 2019 Footscray Art Prize finalists’ exhibition at Footscray Community Arts Centre and VU at MetroWest, from 20 June to 20 July 2019 respectively.