Alana Hunt and Heather Hesterman are The Incinerator Art Award winners for 2017

‘The Incinerator Art Award: Art for Social Change’ invites entries from artists across Australia, who are inspired to bring about positive social change through their artistic practice. The 2017 winners are Alana Hunt, who has won The $10,000 Boathouse Award and Heather Hesterman, the recipient of the $3,000 Incinerator Gallery Award both selected by this year’s judges, Anthony Fitzpatrick, Tarrawarra Museum of Art, Jacqueline Doughty, Ian Potter Museum of Art, and Pippa Milne, Centre for Contemporary Photography.

Alana Hunt, Cups of nun chai, 2017, participatory memorial and media intervention involving tea, conversation, photography and text, dimensions variable

Hunt’s work Cups of nun chai (2010-2017) is a moving installation which presents a sincere and thoughtful gesture by the artist in memory of the lives of 118 people who were lost during fierce pro-freedom protests in Kashmir in 2010. Hunt describes the work as both ‘a search for meaning in the face of something so brutal it appears absurd, and an absurd gesture when meaning itself became too much to bear.’ In three bound volumes of newspapers, the viewer reads a series of texts and images that have been published by the artist in the Kashmiri Reader since mid-2016. Her simple gesture is contrasted against a background of articles reporting on the disturbing historical events unfolding in Kashmir day by day. Included in the bound volumes are Kashmiri journalists’ touching responses to the artist’s work.

Heather Hesterman, LOSS/GAIN, 2017, plywood, stain, water-jet cutting, native plant stock, 160 x 160 x 120cm

Hesterman explores relocated and lost landscapes, displaced through rail and mining with her sculptural work LOSS/GAIN (2017), that is composed of 400 Australian native plants presented in the exact size of an individual mining plot on the goldfields during the 1850s. The audience is invited to participate in this work by taking a native tubestock to plant in their own garden, however as they do this, they cause and mimic habitat loss. This act of revegetation highlights the intrinsic value of the environment, and encourages viewers to contemplate the ethics of their actions.

The winning works are on view now at Incinerator Gallery, Melbourne until 26 November alongside entries by finalists including: Cigdem Aydemir, Hayley Millar-Baker, Sheena Colquhoun, Jacquelene Drinkall, Carly Fischer, Rew Hanks, Kelly Hussey-Smith and Alan Hill, Thea Jones, Aaron Martin, Mohsen Meysami, Phuong Ngo, Becc Ország, Perdita Phillips, Jacob Raupach, Georgia Robenstone, Paul Trefry, Matthew Vaughan Yandell Walton and Sharon West.

The $1,000 People’s Choice Award, will be announced at the conclusion of the finalists’ exhibition.

Mayor of Moonee Valley, Cr Andrea Surace says, ‘The annual Incinerator Art Award is one of the gallery’s most significant events of the year and its underlying theme of Art for Social Change, is one that is of great importance,’ and that ‘It is an honour to have these works displayed at the Incinerator Gallery over the coming weeks and it is an exhibition that I encourage the Moonee Valley Community to experience.’

The Incinerator Art Award is inspired by the original architects of the Incinerator Gallery, Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony, who believed that art and architecture practices are ethical enterprises that should aim to bring about positive social change.

Incinerator Gallery
Until 26 November 2017

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