Two leading international artists, Annika Ekdahl (Sweden) and Constanza Guerrero (Chile) were announced as winners of the small tapestry awards: Kate Derum Award for Small Tapestries and the Irene Davies Emerging Artist Award for Small Tapestries, respectively.
For her winning work, Old Fringes (2019), Ekdahl’s employs the interlocking weaving technique with consummate skill. The work captivated the judges with its nuanced, ethereal and mysterious atmosphere inspired by the 16th to 17th-century symbolic painting genre ‘vanitas’. Ekdahl utilises the fibrous nature of the tapestry medium to blur definition to dreamily depict the transience of life and death through the central motifs of a doe and a skull.
In her tapestry Portrait of a Strange (2018), Guerrero skilfully weaves interlocking flat shapes, fragments of a memory, to depict a transient observation. The everyday ambiguity of sharing space with strangers has been thoughtfully interpreted in this graphic composition and refined tapestry-weaving technique.
The biennial international award showcases creativity and excellence in international and Australian contemporary small tapestry. They are the most prestigious small tapestry Awards in Australasia.
The Kate Derum Award for Small Tapestries ($5000) is a non-acquisitive Award for established artists. It honours Kate Derum and her significant contribution to tapestry as an artist, weaver, teacher, mentor and former Deputy Director/Studio Manager of the ATW. Generously supported by Susan Morgan, the Award is open to all professional Australian and international tapestry artists.
The Irene Davies Emerging Artist Award for Small Tapestries ($1000) is a non-acquisitive Award for artists in the first five years of their tapestry practice. It was established to support early-career weavers in the first five years of their tapestry practice.
All entries to these Awards are hand-woven tapestry, defined as ‘a weft-faced fabric with discontinuous wefts’ and no bigger than 30cm(h) x 30cm(w) x 2cm(d).
Kate Derum Award Highly Commended – Britt Salt (Australia), Shadow (2018)
Kate Derum Award Highly Commended – Sara Lindsay (Australia), Line Drawing (for Gosia) (2019)
Irene Davies Emerging Artist Award Highly Commended – Phillippa Edwards (Australia), BITE (2019)
Since its establishment in 1976, the Australian Tapestry Workshop (ATW) has built a worldwide reputation for the creation of contemporary tapestries in collaboration with living artists and architects. During this time the ATW has woven over 500 tapestries, which hang in significant public and private collections both nationally and internationally. Over 43 years, this commitment to a collaborative approach has been skilfully developed by the ATW to the highest professional level and maintained as a continually evolving creative process. ATW tapestries are known for their vibrancy and technical accomplishment, as well as their innovative experimental interpretations.
This year’s judges were Emeritus Professor Kay Lawrence AM, School of Art, Architecture & Design, University of South Australia, Dr David Sequeira, Director, VCA Margaret Lawrence Gallery and Antonia Syme Director, Australian Tapestry Workshop.