$42,000 Mandorla Art Award opening to the public 20 March

18 Mar 2021

By The Record

8200 Souls, found object, resin and LED lighting by Britt Mikkelsen (WA). Photo: Supplied.
8200 Souls, found object, resin and LED lighting by Britt Mikkelsen (WA). Photo: Supplied.

Australia’s most significant thematic Christian art prize, the Mandorla Art Award, returns this year after being cancelled in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions.

The Award for contemporary religious art has attracted some of the nation’s finest artists since its inception in 1985 including previous winners Mikaela Castledine, John Paul, John Coburn, Brian McKay and Julie Dowling who was named the most collectible artist in Australia shortly after her win in 2000.

The major $25,000 acquisitive award is generously sponsored by St John of God Health Care and will be presented at an invitation only event on Friday 19 March, along with three $5000 Highly Commended prizes. Artwork from all 34 finalists will then be exhibited from Saturday 20 March to Friday 9 April at Stala Contemporary, 12 Cleaver Street, West Perth.

Artists from across Australia were invited to produce works responding to the biblical passage: ‘’He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah: Chapter 6, Verse 8)

Curator Lyn DiCiero says artists responded to the theme in various mediums including paint, sculpture, screen-based media and textiles.

“We are excited to be able to present the Award this year. There are many works giving pause for thought and reflection, coupled with some outstanding concepts and techniques, making the overall selection process difficult for judges.

“We have implemented new technology to support the exhibition and visitors can purchase artworks via QR codes located on the labels underneath the artworks enabling contactless purchases. We are excited to announce voting for the People’s Choice Award will operate in the same way.”

“We think visitors will enjoy some exceptional art works including 8200 Souls, by WA artist Britt Mikkelsen – a sculptural work representing the volume of homeless people in Australia. The work consists of a found blanket, shaped to elicit the form of a human body, which has been pierced with 8200 holes, one for each homeless person in Australia, highlighted by a series of LED lights shining through them.

“Another is Holding by Olga Cironis, who is also currently exhibiting at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery at the University of WA with a survey of her practice. This work is a crown crafted from human hair donated from people from around the world who wished to share their story and desire for unity. Olga Cironis says the work took over a year to craft, “with many hours stitching the hair into a garland based on the woven crown of thorns worn by Jesus.”

Following the exhibition at Stala Contemporary, winning works will tour to New Norcia Museum and Art Gallery, where the People’s Choice Award will be announced on 17 April. A selection of works will be exhibited at St John of God Subiaco Hospital from 13 May – 13 June.

Finalists in the 2021 Award are:

  • Riste Andrievski (NSW)
  • Godfrey Blow (WA)
  • Christophe Canato (WA)
  • Olga Cironis (WA)
  • Rebecca Corps (WA)
  • Emilio Cresciani (NSW)
  • Joanne Duffy (WA)
  • Fiona Evans (WA)
  • Silvana Ferrario (WA)
  • Desire Ferreira (WA)
  • Anna Glynn (NSW)
  • Athena Harris Ingall (NSW)
  • Tevita Havea (Qld)
  • Beric Henderson (NSW)
  • Franci Hepburn (WA)
  • Leni Kae (NSW)
  • Vania Lawson (WA)
  • Glenn Loughrey (Vic)
  • Camilla Loveridge (WA)
  • Laszlo Lukacs (WA)
  • Elisa Markes-Young (WA)
  • Lucille Martin (WA)
  • Britt Mikkelsen (WA)
  • Perrin Millard (Qld)
  • Michael Vincent Murphy (WA)
  • Sonia Payes (Vic)
  • Denise Pepper (WA)
  • Julian Poon (WA)
  • Sion Prior (WA)
  • Deborah Ralph-Kafarela (WA)
  • Darryl Roger (Tas)
  • Harrison See (WA)
  • Alexandra Spargo (WA)
  • John Teschendorff (WA)