Applause: recent winners

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This week sees a regional photography prize winner; a Devonport solo commission revealed, Art Trams on the move, and more.
Applause: recent winners

Black and white image of Vicki Vodor by Elli Bardas, winner of the Martin Kantor Portrait Prize. Supplied.

Martin Kantor Portrait Prize winner announced

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale has announced photography student Elli Bardas as the winner of the inaugural Martin Kantor Portrait Prize.

Bardas has received $15,000 in prize money for her winning piece, a black and white image of her aunt, Vicki Vodor.

The portrait, which will be on display at the Ballarat Town Hall, 'had to be of a significant, living Australian in the field of arts, letters, science, sports or politics,' noted the Foto Biennale.


Judge Naomi Cass said, 'This portrait stands within a tradition of black and white portraiture, maybe reminiscent of 1960s, and as the sitter leans toward us we are invited in. The subject is a mature and beautiful woman and we can see in this open face something of an inner light, perhaps life well lived, and her hands are active hands that have lived and worked.'

Supported by the Dara Foundation, the acquisitive first prize is named in memory of the late Martin Kantor a photographer and philanthropist.

MTC bestows Lifetime Patron Award

Melbourne Theatre Company honoured long-time benefactor Patricia Burke with a Lifetime Patron Award on Tuesday night at a special preview event for MTC’s 2018 Season.

Burke has been an MTC subscriber since 1953 and has supported the Company as a donor since 1990. She has been an active member of the MTC family for 64 years, first participating in The University of Melbourne’s Union Repertory Theatre, which went on to become Melbourne Theatre Company. MTC is honoured to have received Patricia’s passionate and continued support since the Company’s inception.

MTC Executive Director Virginia Lovett said, ‘Pat has not only been a subscriber since 1953, but has also been a donor for many years and given many thousands of hours to MTC fundraising efforts. She has introduced a great many people to the Company including her family – now three generations of Burkes enjoy MTC. She is our longest-serving subscriber, one of our greatest champions, and utterly deserving of this year’s Lifetime Patron Award.’

In recognition of her immense contribution to MTC for over 25 years, Patricia was presented with a handmade gold lapel pin, compliments of Kozminsky.

In 2015 the MTC Foundation introduced the Lifetime Patron Award to acknowledge and celebrate MTC’s most loyal and extraordinary supporters, and their generosity that has enriched the arts throughout Victoria and Australia. 

Burke joins Peter Clemenger AO, Joan Clemenger AO, Allan Myers AO QC, Maria Myers AO, the late Biddy Ponsford, Roger Riordan AM, Derek Young AM and Caroline Young as MTC Lifetime Patrons.

MTC’s Season 2018 will be announced to the public on Monday 28 August during a launch at Hamer Hall.

Sidney Myer Creative Fellows announced

A playwright, an improvisational pianist, an Artistic Director and two visual artists are among the recipients of the 2017 Sidney Myer Creative Fellows. Each Fellow receives $160,000 over two years. Rather than being tied to specific outcomes, the Fellowships provide an income over two years, allowing each Fellow time for creative reflection in which to develop aspects their practice without financial pressure.

For more details see our separate story: 2017 Sidney Myer Creative Fellows announced.

2017 Australian Dance Awards Hall of Fame inductee Noel C Tovey AM.

Dance Awards Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement announced

Ausdance Australia has announced that the 2017 Australian Dance Awards Hall of Fame inductee is multi-talented artist Noel C Tovey AM. The organisation simultaneously announced that this year's Lifetime Achievement award will be presented to Helen Herbertson, a pioneer in dance.

Tovey has had an illustrious 60 year career. He is an acclaimed dancer, actor, choreographer singer, director, designer, author, activist and teacher. Among many career highlights, Tovey directed the first Indigenous play at the Sydney Festival. He went on to write an award-winning biography, Little Black Bastard, that was then turned into a highly successful play. Tovey also directed the Indigenous Ceremony for the Indigenous Welcome at the 2000 Olympics and is prolific in his work in campaigning for Indigenous and LGBTI elders’ rights.

'Noel’s resilience, artistry, passion and talents have been inspiring and influential for many generations of professional Indigenous and non-Indigenous dancers and artists,' said Robina Beard OAM, Australian Dance Awards Selection Panel, Chair. 'We applaud and recognise Noel’s stellar career through his induction into the Australian Dance Award Hall of Fame.'

Beard also said it was an honour to announce the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to Herbertson. 'Helen has been an inspirational figure in Australian dance for over four decades. This Award recognises her lifetime achievements, including a career as a highly-regarded and multi-faceted performer, choreographer, director, collaborator, producer, teacher, performance coach, arts adviser and academic.'

Both awards will be presented as part of the Australian Dance Awards on Sunday 24 September at Arts Centre Melbourne. Visit for details.  

Troy Ruffels, At the edge of things, 2017, archival solvent based print on composite aluminium sheet, 60 x 90 cm. Image supplied.

Devonport Regional Gallery Solo Commission winner named 

Tasmanian artist Troy Ruffels has been announced the recipient of the 2017 Devonport Regional Gallery Solo Commission. The commission is given to a mid-career Tasmanian artist and allows them to create a new body of work.

Ruffels works with digital media, video and photography. For the commissioned exhibition he produced a body of work referencing 'the recent extreme weather events experienced here on the North West Coast, including the fires of summer 2016 and the floods that followed that winter,' noted Davenport Gallery.

Ruffels’ exhibition titled Between Fire & Flood will begin in early September.

The artist said of the works: 'In the studio, and in the 12 month development of the exhibition my focus often shifted to the use, qualities and attributes of light and emotive tone, and how through finding visual equivalents for often elusive states, I could translate the qualities of harmony and discord, weight and gravity, solace and conflict, and the poetics of human endeavour into visual form.

‘The challenge was to synthesize and distill the details, textures and qualities I observe and experience in an environment with a suitable layering of photographic and mark making techniques employed,' Ruffels said.

Emma Anna – The Language of Fracture, tram design. Image supplied.

New artists announced for 2017 Melbourne Art Tram project

As part of Melbourne Festival’s visual arts program, eight new artists have been announced as part of this year’s Melbourne Art Tram project.

The artists are Bushra Hasan, Emma Anna, Josh Muir, Justine McAllister, Matthew Clarke, Oliver Hutchinson, Robert Owen and St Albans Heights Primary School and Community Hub.

The first tram will hit the tracks on Thursday 5 October with the other seven to follow. The trams will remain on Melbourne's streets until April 2018. A People’s Choice Award will be announced following the release of the trams, with the public able to vote for their favourite art work.

Victoria’s Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley MP said: 'The Melbourne Art Trams project shows that art is a part of everyday life here in Victoria by transforming our iconic trams into mobile contemporary artworks. This year’s crop of artists represents the diversity of our creative sector and includes artists from regional towns well beyond the tram lines and some very talented primary school students. We are proud to be part of Melbourne Art Trams, yet another example of why we are the creative state.'

Jonathan Holloway, Artistic Director, Melbourne Festival added, 'This year’s submissions were truly inspiring and the project is the backbone of Melbourne Festival’s free visual arts program: surprising and delighting millions of Melburnians and visitors to the city each year.'

A revival of a previous successful art project, Transporting Art, the Melbourne Art Tram project celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. The project is made possible through a partnership between Melbourne Festival, Creative Victoria and Public Transport Victoria in collaboration with Yarra Trams.

Triple j 2017 Unearthed High winner revealed

Perth secondary school student Arno Faraji has taken out the 2017 Unearthed High competition, triple j's national search for Australia's best High School aged music act. To be eligible, all acts must have at least half the band members still in high school.

A producer and rapper, Faraji is only 17 years of age and is the first hip-hop artist to win in the 10 years the competition has run.

As part of his prize, Faraji will be flown from WA to triple j HQ to professionally record a song, following in the footsteps of Unearthed High alumni Gretta Ray, Mosquito Coast, Japanese Wallpaper, Asta and Stonefield.

'In Arno Faraji we’ve discovered an extraordinary teenager who’s only just beginning to tap the potential of his talent,' said Dave Ruby Howe, Music Director, triple j Unearthed.

When asked by the triple j crew how he has been doing since the announcement, Faraji said 'I’m so ecstatic. I don’t know if you guys can hear my heart but it’s beating so hard right now.'

Sunshine Coast Art Prize exhibition at Caloundra Regional Gallery. Image supplied.

Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2017 finalists unveiled 

Whittled down from 461 applicants, the 39 finalists for the Sunshine Coast Art Prize have been revealed at the Caloundra Regional Gallery, which hosts the Prize's exhibition.

Rick Baberowski, Arts Portfolio Councillor, said: 'Finalists include several established artists with strong national and international profiles, including Robert Owen and Daniel von Sturmer, as well as many respected, mid-career artists such as Raquel Ormella, Tim McMonagle and Helga Groves.

'I encourage everyone to visit the gallery and make the most of this wonderful opportunity to see the artworks for themselves and I look forward to hearing who the winners will be at the official opening event at Caloundra Regional Gallery on August 31,' he added.

The winner will receive $25,000 in a cash prize that is sponsored by Audi Centre Sunshine Coast and Sunshine Coast Council. The winning artwork will be acquired by the Sunshine Coast Art Collection.

The finallists are: Samara Adamson-Pinczewski (VIC), Paul Bai (QLD), Chris Bennie (QLD), Jeremy Blincoe (VIC), Julie Bradley (ACT), Aaron Butt (QLD), Anna Carey (QLD), Samuel Condon (VIC), Matt Coyle (TAS), Sam Cranstoun (QLD), Gerwyn Davies (NSW), Joseph Daws (QLD), Mark Dean (QLD), Shoufay Derz (NSW), Helfa Groves (VIC), Lyndal Hargrave (QLD), Jennifer Herd (QLD), Naomi Hobson (QLD), Owen Leong (NSW), Ross Manning (QLD), Abbey McCulloch (QLD), Tim McMonagle (VIC), Julian Meagher (NSW), Robert Moore (NSW), Kent Morris (VIC), Nicola Moss (QLD), Catherine O’Donnell (NSW), Raquel Ormella (NSW), Halinka Orszulok (NSW), Robert Owen (VIC), Bundit Puangthong (VIC), Paul Ryan (NSW), Tania Smith (VIC), Jacqui Stockdale (VIC), Mark Titmarsh (NSW), Daniel von Sturmer (VIC), Victoria Watts (VIC), Stephanie Wilson (VIC) and Paul Yore (VIC).

Click here for more recent winners

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