Meet the winners at the 2021 Rotary Youth Art Prize
Seventeen young artists have been awarded cash prizes at the closing of an annual exhibition at Murray Bridge Regional Gallery.
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A handsome black cockatoo has won young painter Hayley Hunt one of Murray Bridge’s most coveted arts awards.
Hunt took out the people’s choice award when the 2021 Rotary Youth Art Prize winners were announced at Murray Bridge Regional Gallery on Sunday.
The overall prize winner was Unity College student Charlotte Patterson, whose mixed media work My Home showed aspects of farming life in the Mallee.
“It is meaningful to me as it shows parts of my life that I am grateful for,” Patterson said in a blurb about the work, a photo collage embellished with tracing, embroidery and printing.
“I am thankful that I live where I do.”
Judge Andrew Purvis, also the curator of the Adelaide Central Gallery, described it as “an inventive and refined work” worthy of the $1000 main prize.
Cash prizes were also given out in each of four age groups.
Among the works by 21- to 25-year-olds, Mr Purvis chose a “sensitive and considered landscape painting” of Babinda Falls, Queensland by Mary Gordon as the first-prize winner.
Abbey Morrison’s Biblically Inaccurate Angel won her second prize, and Sophie Colleen Cunial came third with Because of Her We Can.
The 18-20 category was won by Eastern Fleurieu School student Katelyn Jardine for her textile “masterwork” Rose Cottage.
Second prize went to Cian Yakas for his painting Moon Maiden, and third to Darcey-Maree McNamara for the painting Waiting.
Another Eastern Fleurieu student, Tansy Venning, won in the hotly contested 15-17 age group with Tracks of Country, one of three “charming” works featuring intricately painted gum leaves.
Second was Molly Sutherland for her painting 20/20 Vision, third was Tarsha Fladrich with Sight for Sore Eyes, and given special mention by the judge were Sharna Bailey and Ruby Wyatt.
In the 12-14 category, first prize went to Twining Arts student Francis Rooney for his clay sculpture Snail, shown slithering off a box.
Kiele Baker came second with her wire and clay figure Wilkin, while Matilda Edmonds was third with Riverbank Tree, a mix of acrylic, watercolour and pencil drawing.
Finally, Caitlyn Brooks won a new prize for the best compassionate depiction of an animal, sponsored by Murraylands Animal Welfare Watch, for her lion photo King in a Cage.
MAWW patron Karen Eckermann described Brooks’ work as a wonderful reflection on an animal which held its head high despite being stuck behind bars.
Youth art prize has grown into a huge, important affair
The gallery was filled to COVID-capacity for the presentation, and its walls were filled, too.
A record 188 works were entered in the competition this year by 105 artists.
The prize pool was increased by 60 per cent this year, too, with an extra age category, more prizes in each category and higher cash amounts up for grabs.
Director Fulvia Mantelli said the effort to get young people involved in the arts was one of the most important things the gallery did every year.
“This project is all about showcasing the diverse artistic talents of our young people,” she said.
“Most importantly, we think it offers a platform for them to creatively express their views.
“Every single time the works come in, we are overwhelmed emotionally with how brave these young artists are and how open they are about speaking about really, really important and personal issues.”
She thanked the sponsors who had made the exhibition possible, and the local Rotary Clubs who had supported the prize since 2012.
The exhibition has since begun to be cleared to make way for two exhibitions which will open this weekend.