2024 Gallipoli Art Prize finalists announced

Thirty-six finalists have been announced for the 19th annual Gallipoli Art Prize, a $20,000 acquisitive prize auspiced by the Gallipoli Memorial Club in Sydney. The Prize invites artists to respond openly to the broad themes of loyalty, respect, love of country, courage, comradeship, community, peace and freedom as expressed in the Gallipoli Memorial Club’s creed:

“We believe that within the community there exists an obligation for all to preserve the special qualities of loyalty, respect, love of country, courage and comradeship which were personified by the heroes of the Gallipoli Campaign and bequeathed to all humanity as a foundation for perpetual peace and universal freedom.”

Kate Stevens, Witness

Among the thirty-six finalist works this year is Kate Steven’s powerful work Witness, a portrait of Dusty Miller, whistleblower and former SAS medic who served with Australia’s Special Forces in Afghanistan and who gave testimony to the IGADF Afghanistan war crimes inquiry. “Dusty and the other veterans who spoke at great personal cost about what they witnessed have done the nation a great service; showing courage and loyalty in upholding the qualities which Australians could and should aspire to,” Stevens said in her accompanying artist statement.

Many works reference WWI, while others reference more contemporary conflicts and universal themes, such as Lori Pensini’s Weeping Woman, which the artist describes as “an emotional response to the discord in the world right now,” and Luke Cornish’s The Pity of War, which references the “universality of maternal grief.”

Lori Pensini, Weeping Woman

Many of the finalists have taken inspiration for their works from relatives who have served in the armed forces. Artist Nicole Martin’s work Malaria, Search for Their Story took her on an emotional journey following her grandfather’s story into a little-known chapter of Australian history where WWII soldiers were subjected to malaria experiments. Martin says in her artist statement, “In my pursuit, I discovered a heartfelt narrative interwoven with a profound love for country and fellow comrades, their story masked by missing and redacted documents.”

A number of mixed media works are featured in this year’s group of finalists, including Peter McCarthy’s Building Material, which consists of horizontal rolls covered in material evoking military service ribbons, and John Butler’s work V529 Timmy’s Blanket, which features poppies painted on his father’s RAAF service blanket.

Peter McCarthy, Building Material

Richard Crossland, Slouch Hat and Swallows

Animals feature as well, including camels in Geoff Harvey’s Worthy Allies, birds in Richard Crossland’s Slouch Hat and Swallows, a horse in Jenii Mac’s Loyalty Knows No Bounds, and a tracker dog in the arms of a soldier being winched from a helicopter into the jungle in Penelope Oates’ Unbreakable Bonds.

This year’s Prize will be judged by Jane Watters, Barry Pearce, Elizabeth Fortescue. and John Robertson.

An exhibition of finalists’ works will be held at 6–8 Atherden Street, The Rocks, Sydney, from 18 April to 24 May, 2024, with the winner announced on Wednesday 17 April.

View all 2024 Gallipoli Art Prize finalist works at www.gallipoliartprize.org.au.

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