2020 Tim Olsen Drawing Prize winner announced


Congratulations to Monika Cvitanovic Zaper; winner of the 2020 Tim Olsen Drawing Prize for her work Lineage (2020).

‘This work gives form to a complex and layered engagement with matrilineal histories, sensitively and creatively investigating the ways that knowledge is passed on through time across generations. The processual and material aspects of the work speaks to forms of intimacy, vulnerability, and transmission that are particularly pertinent today. It seamlessly merges drawing with craft, while also resonating with the visual language of the digital. The work is confident, mature, conceptually driven and materially sophisticated, taking an expansive approach to contemporary drawing practice that is deserving of the 2020 Tim Olsen Drawing Prize.’

The Tim Olsen Drawing Prize was established with the generous support of alumnus and UNSW Foundation Board member, Tim Olsen (BEdArt ’82). Founder and Director of the Olsen Gallery, Tim and the Olsen family have long been encouraging and supporting young and emerging artists to build careers as professional practicing artists. The annual $5,000 prize encourages excellence in drawing among UNSW Art & Design students and reinforces the importance of developing drawing skills.

‘I think of drawing as being the backbone, or the alphabet, or the grammar of art. I often find that there isn’t enough emphasis on drawing. If you can’t draw it, then how does it become real?

‘Take my father’s generation, for example, all of them drew before they painted. They did many works before they started a major work,’ says Tim.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Tim Olsen Drawing Prize at UNSW Art & Design. To celebrate, an exhibition of archived winning works and new artworks was held online from 28 September to 6 October 2020, with the overall winner and highly commended artists announced on Tuesday 6 October. This year’s judging panel included Alexie Glass-Kantor (Executive Director, Artspace Sydney, and UNSW Art & Design alumna) and Dr Rochelle Haley (UNSW Art & Design Lecturer and former Tim Olsen Drawing Prize winner).

The three highly commended students;

Eric M. Hoenig for his work A Language of Shadows, selected for ‘its experimental approach to the possibilities of expanded drawing practice. The work uses sculptural forms and a variety of material techniques to blur the distinction between three-dimensional form and two-dimensional mark-making. It has an open-ended quality that shows much potential for future development beyond conventional boundaries.’

Ruvé Staneke for her work 2020: “You’re On Mute” which connects ‘with some of the most important social issues of our time, the work is multi-layered, using a variety of techniques and processes in its construction. It demonstrates both technical proficiency and an awareness of the contexts informing contemporary practice today.’

Anna Seymour for her work Epoch, ‘a detailed and meticulous, without being overly polite or stifled by precision. The drawing techniques are disciplined, but the ideas are unrestrained, pointing to the potential of this work to be developed into the future.’

The 2020 finalists were Joshua Alipio, Alyssa Alzamora, Liana Berzins, Sarah Catania, Monika Cvitanovic Zaper, Fatima Farrukh, Victoria Ferguson, Aileen Heal, Eric M. Hoenig, Sophie Lane, Stella Laurence, Elizabeth Lewis, Kehan Li, Lisa Myeong-Joo, Marleena Oudomvilay, Tiffany Pham, Hannah Saunders, Anna Seymour, Karan Singh Shekhawat, Ruvé Staneke, William Taylor, Emma Vey-Cox, and Maiya Wilson.

Well done, all!