TANJA artist Alan Watt has taken out the inaugural $10,000 Bega Valley Shire Council acquisitive prize at this year’s Bermagui Sculpture on the Edge.
Winners were announced on Saturday night at the event’s official opening, at which artists mingled and admired various works displayed within the Bermagui Community Centre.
Mr Watt has the honour of being the first recipient of the council’s new three-year acquisitive prize, with his piece, “Southern Experience”, to be included in the council’s public art collection.
He was unfortunately unable to attend the opening due to a prior family commitment.
A highlight of the glittering event was the Welcome to Country, which was described by one of the artists as “very engaging and made a real connection” with the audience.
Speakers on the night included Wendy Teakel, head of the Australia National University’s Sculpture School and event judge, and Bega Valley Shire mayor Bill Taylor.
Ms Teakel spoke about works she admired this year and the emergence of the Far South Coast region as a place for artists and the idea of art defining a community’s cultural existence.
Similarly, Cr Taylor’s address also touched on how art binds the people of a community together through an appreciation of the art itself.
Once again Pambula artist Jen Mallinson has won the $5000 Philip Cox Acquisitive Prize, and her artwork will take up its new home at Mr Cox’s residence just south of Bermagui.
Ms Mallinson was awarded the same prize in 2012 with her piece “After the Rain II”.
Braidwood artists Andy Townsend and Suzie Bleach were thrilled to receive the ANU residency prize for their piece “The Plot Thickens”.
“This prize is very helpful to us,” Mr Townsend said yesterday.
“It means we will not only be working among kindred spirits at the ANU, but it will give us a workshop as we have been working on a slab in a tent ever since our workshop burnt down in August.”
Sculpture on the Edge includes a total of 95 works from 74 artists from Melbourne, Canberra, Wollongong, Yass, Braidwood, Sydney, Carwoola, Jindabyne and locally.
The exhibition runs until March 10 with large sculptural pieces displayed on Endeavour Point Headland and Dickinson Park, with indoor exhibitions of smaller works in the Bermagui Community Centre and a "pop up" show of work by Amanda Stuart at Shop 1/2 Lamont St.