Artist Steve Lopes won the 2018 Gallipoli Art Prize with Exposed Wood, Mont St Quentin.
Entries for the 2019 Gallipoli Art Prize are now open to artists who wish to creatively explore and commemorate the spirit of the Gallipoli Campaign.
This year’s winner, Steve Lopes, was awarded the prize for his painting, Exposed Wood Mont St Quentin, which captures the overgrown battlefield overlooking the town of Péronne, France.
What could have been a bleak depiction of war was interpreted by the artist in a way that resonated with judges.
‘While we thought the piece was very appropriate for the centenary end of the war, it was also very calming,’ said John Robertson, Chairman of the Gallipoli Art Prize Selection Committee. ‘It’s quite a reflective, solemn picture, rather than dark.
‘[Lopes] had been at the site during the day and went back late in the afternoon and there were bits of litter – for want of a better word – bits of paper and things like that, being blown around in the breeze, which reminded him of the spirits, of the soldiers that had died there.’
The Prize requires artists, both professional and amateur, to respond to the Gallipoli Memorial Club Creed values, which include loyalty, respect, love of country, courage and comradeship.
‘Artists can interpret those concepts in lots of other ways apart from the military side of things,’ said Robertson. ‘It is the Gallipoli Art Prize but it doesn’t have to be about Gallipoli or war.’
Lori Pensini was shortlisted for the 2018 Gallipoli Art prize with her work, Unknown Soldier.
Some artists have contributed work which reflects on a women’s experience of the war and of being a widow, while some entrants have served in the military.
The prize is open to artists with Australian, New Zealand or Turkish citizenship. Entrants are invited to submit one piece of original work produced in either oils, acrylic watercolour or mixed media.
Artists are inspired to enter for many reasons, not just because they have a relative who served in either WW1 or WW2.
‘The types of people who enter are completely across the board,’ Robertson said.
Entrants this year included a number of VCE art students, which confirms there is no age barrier to the competition.
‘This year we had more than the usual number of student artists that made it into the finals in their own right, not just because they were students,’ Robertson said. ‘I think we had four or so of the finalists that were 16 and 17 years of age and they may have had a grandfather or great grandfather in the First or Second World War.
‘They were interested in the subject, interested in attention to the items in the creed and they got into the finals in their own right,’ he said.
Artists wishing to submit an entry to the Gallipoli Art Prize must deliver the work to: The Gallipoli Art Prize Organizing Committee, C/- The Harbour View Hotel, 18 Lower Fort Street, Dawes Point, Sydney NSW 2000, between the hours 10AM and 4PM on Sunday 10, Monday 11, Tuesday 12, and Wednesday 13 March 2019.
To find out more about the Gallipoli Art Prize visit gallipoli.com.au/art-prize/