Five WA artists, including one from the northern Goldfields, have been selected as finalists in the annual National Capital Art Prize
The art prize is a not-for-profit company which was established in Canberra in March 2021 to facilitate the first Australia-wide competition for artworks of any subject.
Only the best of the best artworks were selected by a panel of art critics from a huge field of entries.
The five WA artists join a national shortlist of 129 finalists of which four talented artists will share in a cash prize pool of $47,500 this year.
Northern Goldfields artist Sally Butler from Tjukurla entered the First Nations category with her piece Warngurnu.
The artist’s bio reads: “Sally is the daughter of Katjarra Butler. She has two sons, Patrick and Winston. Sally spends most of her time at Tjukurla Community although she has connections in Darwin and Batchelor. Sally’s paintings usually depict the women out collecting food around the Tjukurla area.
“She has a vibrant energy which is channelled into her use of colour and form. Her emergent style echoes her mother’s stories and the knowledge she has of the significant sites around her home country in the western desert.”
Warngurnu is a depiction of the women of the Tjukurla community collecting the tiny seed of the grass called Wangurnu in the area south of Kiwirrkurra, called Larrara.
They grind the seed into a fine flour that is collected in the coolamon (wooden bowls) then mix the flour with water to make nyuma (damper) that is cooked in the fire.
The women have their digging sticks and wooden bowls with them in the painting.
It is a landscape dominated by sandhills and is near Butler’s birthplace.
This year’s categories include open, first nations prize for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander artists and the brand-new sustainability prize which opened the competition up to artworks of any medium.
A unique part of this competition is the online people’s choice award which is open for voting until September 11.
All finalists’ artworks are displayed in a virtual gallery and the public can vote daily to determine who wins this category.
Finalist works will now make their way from every State and Territory in Australia to Canberra for the final round of judging.
A panel of eminent Australians will decide the three category winners ahead of a four-week public exhibition.
Director and founder of the National Capital Art Prize Robert Stephens said the organisation was thrilled to see all the unique, thought-provoking and inspiring art across a wide range of styles and mediums.
“Several of Australia’s best-known artists, including previous Archibald finalists, have submitted works and some really brilliant pieces have been received from emerging new talent,” he said.
“The standard and variety of artworks is amazing. The judging panel really had their work cut out selecting the finalists.
“It will be exciting to see them in situ at the public exhibition in Canberra through September and October.
“I would particularly like to thank our Platinum Partner, Mineral Councils of Australia, and our Gold Partner, Canberra Airport Group, whose support enables this competition.”
Managed by honorary directors, the organisation supports and showcases Australian artists and celebrates their skill and diversity through the annual national painting competition.
The category winners will be announced in early September followed by the public exhibition at The Fitters’ Workshop in Canberra from mid-September.
The finalists’ work is available for purchase through the website as well as information on the judges and the public exhibition.
All funds generated through partnerships and entry fees are used in the running of the National Capital Art Prize and are continuously reinvested in the Prize to encourage artistic endeavour into the future.