Blake Prize winners announced

Pamela Leung, SORRY I NO UNDERSTAND, 2018, neon (2) Photo: CPAC

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre announced winners of 65th Blake Prize, one of Australia’s longest running and most prestigious prizes.

Tina Havelock Stevens has won the 65th Blake Prize. A Surry Hills NSW local, was selected as the winner from 80 finalist works. A blind judging process lead by a team of four industry professionals took place before Stevens was announced the winner of the $35,000 cash prize at a launch event at Casula Powerhouse on Saturday 19 May.

The Blake Prize engages contemporary artists with ideas of religion and spirituality. The 2018 prize received a whopping 769 entries from across Australia and the world, a massive 30% increase from 2016.

Stevens’ work, Giant Rock, is a performance video piece in which the artist explores how certain life beliefs for some are the antithesis for others with the use of a rock and roll drum kit. Filmed in situ at Giant Rock in the Mojave Desert, a once spiritual place that now attracts dirt bikes and graffiti, Stevens inhabits the location visually and sonically, tuning into the frequencies of the site and history of the place.

Tina Havelock-Stevens, Giant Rock, 2017, Video (2) Photo: CPAC

Two other Sydney artists were awarded prizes on the evening. Northbridge resident Pamela Leung was the winner of the $6,000 Blake Emerging Artist Prize for her work SORRY I NO UNDERSTAND, a reflection on the experience of dislocation, and the humanity within social justice. Tracey Clement of Annandale was awarded the Blake Established Artist Residency for her sculptural piece Metropolis Experiment, which depicts a post-apocalyptic vision of a ruined city.  The Blake Established Artist Residency prize includes a one-month residency and solo exhibition at CPAC.

Blak Douglas, Hashtag Seven Sisters Dreaming, 2017, Synthetic polymer on Australian made canvas Photo: CPAC

CPAC Director Craig Donarski said “These winning works represent a mix of the astounding artists we have here in Australia. These three winners really were the cream of the crop and in a pool of 769 entries from around Australia and around the globe. It really is a testament to the quality of their works and the talent of the individuals to stand out so remarkably in such a large competition.”

Wade Marynowsky, Yesterday’s Futurist (Self Portrait with Lightsaber)., 2017, High definition video and audio. Photo: CPAC

The 80 finalist works are currently open to the public, on exhibition at CPAC until Sunday 1 July, 2018. A range of public programs has also been curated alongside the exhibition, including, Yoga and drawing workshops and special dinner in which a selection of guests will challenge opinions and share views on topics that are often taboo, while dining on a shared meal prepared by CPAC’s in house restaurant Bellbird.

On Sunday 3 June, CPAC will open its doors for Blake Day, a day of free activities, workshops, performance, film screenings, exhibitions, tours and talks.