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New award offers $10,000 prize pool for local artists

Posted: 3pm 18 Jan 2021

Nadine Sawyer describes her journey to becoming a professional artist as somewhat accidental – but her acclaim in the field has been anything but.

Sawyer, who won the Local Artist category of the Moreton Bay Region Art Awards, says her success was many years in the making.

She completed a Certificate of Introductory Art and Design at the Queensland College of Art before moving south and finding work with a florist.

Floral influence

“When I left art school I worked at a beautiful florist in Melbourne, where I learnt about flowers and colour,” Sawyer says.

“It was a great way to learn about the world, but I realised I didn’t want to do that, I needed more.

“I fell into art school at RMIT and got into the painting department - I was so interested in all kinds of art.”

Sawyer went on to study a Bachelor of Arts (Painting) at Monash University, graduating with honours before completing her Masters, but turned down the opportunity of completing a PhD in favour of travel.

“I had a lot of anxiety and depression and I think painting has helped me through that,” she says.

Iconic angels

Sawyer creates in a variety of styles, ranging from abstract to figurative, with her trademark angel featuring in many of her works.

“I was really experimental and angels have been one of the symbols I paint that come through.

“At first, they were naïve, a bit dark – some of the angels had crutches and wings pinned on.”

A thrilling win

She describes her 2018 winning piece, Inspiration Machine, as being “light, poetic and joyous and forges into landscapes of boundless creativity” and is proud that Moreton Bay Regional Council purchased some of her work for its collection.

“I see all parts of life connecting poetically and the most eloquent way for me to express my insights is through paint.”

$10,000 prize pool for local artists

The new 2021 Moreton Bay Region Art Prize is open only to residents.

Building on the strong foundation and legacy of the Moreton Bay Region Art Awards, Mayor Peter Flannery says the new focus of the art prize will support and celebrate local artists.

“In previous years, artists from across the country could enter the art awards, now the new art prize is open only to Moreton Bay residents,” Mayor Flannery says.

New gallery

“We made this change to better support and celebrate local artists who have endured a challenging year with COVID-19.

The total prize pool for the new awards is $10,000, with finalists having their art shown at the new Pine Rivers Art Gallery in March.

“The opening of the new art gallery in itself will be exciting for the local creative community, and a fantastic space to connect with the breadth of talent we have in Moreton Bay,” Mayor Flannery says.

Bringing joy

“Art has this incredible ability to bring joy and community to our lives, something I know we have all appreciated more than ever during these uncertain times.”

Entry to the Art Prize is free, with applications closing on February 26.

To apply for the Moreton Bay Region Art Prize, click here.

Read more local arts news here.

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