Utopia artist Margaret Loy Pula has won the 2012 Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize, it was announced today. Her painting Anatye (Bush Potato), acrylic on linen, was chosen from 98 finalist entries for the $50,000 prize.
Through her precise dot work the artist depicts the story of the bush potato vine. After rain, the women go out to collect the bush potato, using crowbars to dig up the ground. Once collected they are cooked in the hot coals of the fire. They are an important source of bush food for the Anmatyerre people.
The prize judges commented: “This work (pictured below) has a wonderful delicacy, almost fragility, but there’s a strength in the colours coming through. Spectacular detail leads to a work reminiscent of natural shapes, such as spider webs or leaf patterns, with strength coming from cells joined together. The work makes you want to look into it and go on a journey with it.”
The exhibition of the finalists’ work will be on display at the South Australian Museum from 21 July until 9 September 2012.
Alice Springs residents will be treated to a solo show by the artist in September at Muk Muk Fine Art, which represents her exclusively.
According to Managing Director Mike Mitchell, Loy has been a finalist in 21 art prizes around Australia over the past year. She won the Sunshine Coast art award, the Paddington art prize in Sydney and now the Waterhouse. She came 2nd in the Outback Art Award in Broken Hill and in her first attempt in 2011 was selected in the Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW. Of the over 800 entries to this prestigious prize she was one of only 32 to be selected and made it to the final five.