A Cairns artist has won the Hazelhurst Art on Paper Award for 2017.
Brian Robinson was revealed as the winner of the 2017 national award at a function at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre tonight.
His work entitled Land Sea Sky: Charting our place in the universe 2016 – a linocut printed on paper in black ink from one block – earned him the $15,000 first prize.
Robinson said his work reflected the world of the Islanders of the Torres Strait who reside in a narrow waterway between the land masses of Zai Dagam Daudai [Australia] in the south and Naigai Dagam Daudai [Papua New Guinea] in the north where the Coral and Arafura Seas meet – “in one of the most fragile and intricate waterways in the world”.
“They are a seafaring race of Indigenous people, proud and dignified, whose spirituality is derived from ancestral ties to the land, the sea and the sky,” Robinson an Indigenous artist said.
“Torres Strait Islander culture is closely linked to the stars. They inform Islander laws, customs and practices that are recorded and handed down in the form of story, song, dance, ceremony and artefacts.”
Sutherland Shire Mayor, Carmelo Pesce, said a very high standard of work by some of Australia’s most significant artists can be seen this year.
‘‘I’m also delighted to see so many local artists in this art prize,” Cr Pesce said.
Judge for the 2017 award, Denise Mimmocchi, Senior Curator of Australian Art, Art Gallery of NSW chose Robinson’s work from 76 finalists.
‘‘Technically this work is incredibly sophisticated, it has a wonderful sense of the movements of the universe where land, sea and stars meet and gods mingle with figures of popular culture’’.
This year the gallery received works from 850 artists throughout Australia making it a record year for entries since it began in 2001.
The Young & Early Career Artist’s Award of $5,000 was awarded to Harriet Body for Wet Season, Dry Season 2017 and the Friends of Hazelhurst Local Artist Prize of $5,000 was awarded to Michelle Cawthorn for Daughter 2017.
The installation crew also chose their favourite work which this year has been awarded to Andy Quilty for Self Portrait Studies #10.
He will receive a four-week residency at Hazelhurst.
The People’s Choice Award of $1,000 will be announced on July 3.