Unpackers call it for Alice Prize

Unpackers, community volunteers all, have chosen their winning work from a field of 65 for this year’s Alice Prize, a national prize for contemporary art. History by Faridah Cameron from  Tasmania, is their pick, a “jaw-dropping” acrylic painting,  especially when viewed up close, they say (see detail below).  It was not an easy choice, with many works tying for second place.

 

The official winner will be announced at the opening this Friday (May 9). The occasion will coincide with a celebration of Araluen Arts Centre’s 30th birthday. The Prize exhibition, first held 44 years ago, and the collection it has amassed have been held at Araluen since the centre opened its doors in 1984, thanks to a strong community and local council.

 

In 2002, the judge of the 32nd Prize said it was “a credit to people in this community, that they’ve been so brave and visionary in the structure of the prize over 30 years”. This year’s prize, the 38th since 1970, is still run by community volunteers through the Alice Springs Art Foundation, owned by the community through the Alice Springs Town Council.

 

The Alice Prize continues to be bold in its acceptance of artists working in any medium and to any theme, which make the process of selection and judging very difficult.  It was also a brave move to change the rules in 2014. This is the first year that artists were required to submit the specific work for shortlisting that they wanted to exhibit; previously, artists had been selected based on their recent body of work.

 

380 artists submitted work for the 2014 prize; some submitted multiple entries, which meant the selection panel reviewed 492 artworks before selecting 66 for exhibition and judging (finally 65 will be on show).

 

The artworks include six video works, seven works in 3D ranging from postage stamp size – literally – to the size of a (very) small house, nine photographic pieces, and 29 paintings. All States and Territories are represented. Victoria, NSW and the NT have the highest representation, with local artists again featuring strongly,

 

The judge of the $25,000 Prize in 2014 is Dr Michael Brand, Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. He has considerable experience in Australia and the United States, and joins a long line of highly regarded judges of the Alice Prize.

 

The winner of the Alice Prize will be announced at the exhibition opening.  The Alice Springs Art Foundation will acquire the winning artwork for the Collection at Araluen. The winner of the $1,000 Tammy Kingsley People’s Choice award will be announced after the exhibition closes on Monday 9 June 2014.

 

There will be a floor talk by participating artists and the Judge on Saturday, 10 May at 10.15am at Araluen. All are welcome.

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