Cats, creatures and quality time: 2023 Women’s Art Prize winners announced
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In celebration of International Women’s Day, Randwick City Council is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2023 Women’s Art Prize. This year, depictions of cats, creatures and quality time have taken out the top spots.
The annual Women’s Art Prize spotlights the creativity and talent of women and brings members of the community together to celebrate the unique contribution that women make to our City.
In addition to the Local and Youth categories, this year saw the introduction of a new Open category, which broadened the scope of competition entries to include women who have a special connection to Randwick despite not living, working or studying in the LGA.
There are also two Choice Awards. One is the Councillor’s Choice Award, chosen by the women councillors of Randwick, and the other is the People’s Choice Award, which is awarded to the artist whose work receives the most votes throughout the exhibition period.
The Award Winners
Tied winner: ‘Morning Swimmers’ by Anne Cahill
This work was stunning. Depicting a group of early morning swimmers in a local rock pool the work captures time and a sense of place. Its high technical skill and ability to render light which places this work amongst the highest calibre of impressionist works.
Tied winner: ‘Chinoiserie and Cactus Flower’ by Natasha Ruffio
There’s something strong and delicate in this artwork; it references Japanese and Asian art in its plasticity and perceptive but is also very much of this place. It feels like an allegory on many levels
Runner-up: ‘My DNA’ by Natalie Bateman
This is a powerful, personal piece that speaks to cultural strength and also of exploring identity. Visually beautiful, the combination of dot painting over flat background brings a depth pf meaning to this strong statement of identity.
Winner: ‘For Juliana’ by Natalie Townsend
This digital artwork fits within the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day - the DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality. It depicts a young woman with hair swept back confidently meeting the stare of the viewer. Around her neck and décolletage are three cats in play. The composition and the sitter’s pose and selecting of subjects leans on Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and his intent to show links between the cosmos and nature. By appropriating Leonardo’s manner and style, the artist takes a feminist stance through the female gaze therefore subverting established patriarchal art cannons.
Runner-up: ‘Painting, Watching, Sitting’ (appropriation of Philip Guston's "Painting, Smoking, Eating", 1972) by Charlie Kennedy-Wade.
Judge’s comments: The unusual jagged composition caught our eye. The work technically very strong, quirky and moving. It feels very authentic and contemporary, addressing themes of mental health.
Winner: ‘Earth Equilibrium’ by Angela Nashaat
Judge’s comments: This impressive, high-quality collage shows how illustrative arts are an effective artistic approach to increasing awareness of current philosophical and political considerations. This critical post-humanist work crosses the nature/culture divide, nation/state borders, and champions more-than human beings.
Councillor's Choice Award
Winner: ‘Big Hat’ by Desanka Aleksovska
Congratulations Desanka, the skill and composition of this painting drew us in immediately. It reminded us of the rocks along one of Randwick’s iconic beaches in Maroubra or Coogee. It is a really touching depiction of quality time spent together rambling on the rocks on a summery afternoon but also sharing silence.
Runner-up: ‘Everything Else is Brown’ by Zoe Jones
We kept being drawn back to ‘Everything Else is Brown’ after viewing all the works.
In this painting we saw a reference to Australian artist John Brack’s iconic painting Collins St at 5pm from the 1950s. Collins St at 5pm was inspired by Brack’s own feelings of dread and drudgery working the nine-to-five office lifestyle. But the painting is also a tribute to an enduring sense of individuality.
Zoe’s painting places a girl in pink centre stage, holding her bright-eyed cat and displaying a bold individuality and resilience contrasting with the dreary but also brutal drudgery in the day to day.
We found this especially thoughtful as it was the work of a young artist.
People's Choice Award
Tied winner: ‘Big waves at the Mahon Pool’ by Christine Langdon
Tied winner: ‘Morning Swimmers’ by Anne Cahill
All entered artworks are on exhibition for public viewing at the Randwick Community Centre this week, Wednesday 8 March, 4-6pm, and Thursday 9 March, 7-9pm.
The top 50 artworks will then be on display at the Lionel Bowen Library Gallery from Tuesday 14 March until Thursday 27 April, during library opening hours.