Tuesday, September 04, 2007

56th Blake Prize for Religious Art

Shirley Purdie, Stations of the Cross, winner, 56th Blake Prize for Religious Art.

Jumaadi, Whisper, John Coburn Emerging Professional Artists Award.

Rodney Pople, The Last Supper, Highly Commended, 56th Blake Prize for Religious Art.

The National Art School is proud to be the hosting partner of The Blake Prize for Religious Art for the second year. Since it’s inception in 1949, The Blake Prize has stimulated a fascinating dialogue between art and religion. Named after the British artist and poet William Blake (1757-1827), the Prize aims to present perspectives from all religious backgrounds, encouraging artists to explore concepts of belief and truth.

The Blake Prize recognises entries related to any faith or artistic style. The work must be made within two years of the submission date and unlike many other prizes there is no restriction on media. This combination generates a dynamic exhibition in which myriad styles, ideas and values sit parallel, and where conservative religious art forms are challenged. This year also saw the awarding of the inaugural John Coburn Emerging Professional Artists Award which honours the memory of the late Australian artist, John Coburn, long associated with the Blake.

The Blake Prize and John Coburn Emerging Professional Artists Award were judged by a panel comprising of Tongan born religious writer and critic Rev. Dr Jione Havea, author and curator Jennifer Isaacs AM well known for her work with indigenous art, and the nationally and internationally renowned artist Lindy Lee, whose Chinese background informs her practice.

The winner of the Blake Prize for Religious Art 2007 is Shirley Purdie, an indigenous artsist for her painting Stations of the Cross. According to the judges: “The winning work by Shirley Purdie is simply delicious in colour, texture and feeling. It is a marvellously realised painterly journey that recreates the stories told to the artist in childhood of the Stations of the Cross in Warmun country using a breathtakingly beautiful natural ochre pallette made from the earths eroded from the very Kimberley rocks whose mobile shapes enclose and frame the vignettes of story. A solidly honest, confident, and true painting it becomes a meditation on travelling within the artists country following a remembered and cherished biblical journey of suffering and pain towards redemption, and perhaps as well asks us to reflect on loss, pain and the journeys we all need to make towards each other.”

National Art School lecturer Rodney Pople was Highly Commended for his work The Last Supper. The judges commented that, “Pople is a great painter of luminosity – energised light. This painting burns slowly and gathers intensity the longer the viewer stays with it.”

Whisper by Indonesian artist Jumaadi was awarded the Inaugural John Coburn Award for Emerging Artists. For the judges, Jumaadi's work was “like a broken- up and laid out manuscript. Evoking the multiplicity of experiences and giving vignettes in the confusing lives of its actors, it references much in art as it does in life which causes one to pause, consider, and yet enjoy its street -wise comic -book illustrations, as well as its deft intelligence. Viewing this work, like judging the Blake prize itself, was like sitting in a gallery of restless stories.” Jumaadi is a Masters of Fine Arts candidate at the National Art School.

Further information on the exhibition is available from the Blake Society at http://www.blakeprize.com.au/

The 56th Blake Prize for Religious Art is on display at the NAS Gallery 30 August – 29 September 2007, Monday – Saturday 10am - 4pm. Please note the NAS Gallery is closed Friday 7th and Saturday 8th September.


Anonymous said...

having a picture of bin laden that changes to and from jesus is extremely insulting. very surprised that the school supports this.

Anonymous said...

The two are very similar some in ways and different in others. It's a confronting piece but still just an art work. I support it 100%

autopilot said...

Thank 'God' the art school supports it, I would find it extremely insulting should the art school supress opinion and/or support only 'art' that agrees with Christian ideals.

Bob said...

Art should remain art, politics is its own animal, and religious hatred expressed from the ignorant, in the name of "art" should be scrutinized for what it is...