The Blake Prize, one of Australia’s longest standing and most prestigious prizes, continues to engage contemporary artists, both nationally and internationally, in conversations concerning faith, spirituality, religion, hope, humanity, social justice, belief and/or non-belief. It presents an aesthetic means of exploring the wider experience of spirituality through the creative minds, and hands, of contemporary artists.
The 65th Blake Prize received 769 entries from artists across the globe including Australia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Norway, Greece, and the United States. From these submissions Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (CPAC) have selected 80 finalists ranging from leading contemporary practitioners to emerging and self-taught artists working with painting, photography, sculpture, performance, installation and digital media. The winner of this year’s $35,000 Blake Prize, as well as the winners of the $6,000 acquisitive The Emerging Artist Award and the Blake Residency program, a one-month residency and exhibition at CPAC, will be announced at the exhibition launch at CPAC on Saturday 19 May, from 6-9pm.
International highlights 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.
Domestic highlights include: Mikala Dwyer (Petersham, NSW) exploration of faith through Letterbox Saint Jude, a sculpture built to receive messages of hopelessness and despair; while Mark Tweedie (Mount Lawley, WA) examines mortality in two oil paintings – 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. Also, Khaled Sabsabi (Bonnyrigg, NSW) presents intimate insight into notions of spirituality with Bonnyrigg Monks.
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) explores 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.
The 2018 finalists:
Belinda Allen | Uri Auerbach | Maree Azzopardi | Tiyan Baker | Hayley Millar Baker | Karen Bloomfield | Jules Boag | Lisa Bowen | Daniel Butterworth | Louis Cagalj | Laura Carthew | Thomas C. Chung | Tracey Clement | Matthew Couper | Adam Cusack | Hilde A. Danielsen | Sam Doctor | Nyinta Donald | John A Douglas | Blak Douglas | Mikala Dwyer | Yvonne East | Jackson Farley | Madeline Fountain | Ben Fuog | Donna Gough | Craig Green | Tim Gregory | Amala Groom | Patrick Hall | Sue Healey | Doug Heslop | Hobart Hughes | Sean Hutton | Mehwish Iqbal | Anna Jacobson | Leah Jeffries | Rus Kitchin | Alex Latham | Rosalind Lemoh | Leon Lester | Pamela Leung | Wade Marynowksy | Martin George and Raphaella Mazzone | Teena McCarthy | Chi Chi Menendez | Chris O’Doherty aka Reg Mombassa | Nasim Nasr | Alexandra Nemaric | Catherine O’Donnell | Becc Ország | Philjames | Rodney Pople | Deborah Prior | Rebekah Pryor | Clache Raong | Leslie Rice | Tobias Richardson | Dasha Riley | Khaled Sabsabi | Jeramie Scahill | Greg Semu | Aemmon Sheehan | Gary Smith | Shane Smithers | Paul Snell | Tina Havelock Stevens | Jacqui Stockdale | Zara Sullivan | Linda Syddick | Cyrus Tang | Jonathan Rose and Annette Thas | Floria Tosca | Mark Tweedie | Brenda Walsh | Greg Warburton | Lachlan Warner | Vanessa White | Sarah Woodward | Kayo Yokoyama
Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre
12 May to 1 July, 2018