Artists invited to enter Blake Prize

The Crusader

The Crusader, Liam Benson

There are just over three weeks left to enter Australia’s most prestigious religious and spiritual art competition, the Blake Prize.

The $35,000 biennual prize is awarded to the work that is judged as best encouraging conversation around spirituality and religion in the 21st century.

Local and international contemporary artists are invited to submit entries by 16 February for the 65th Blake Prize, which is sponsored by the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in western Sydney.

The centre will exhibit finalist artworks from 12 May to 1 July this year.

Judges will also award a $6000 emerging artist prize and The Blake Established Artist Residency, which consists of a residency and solo exhibition at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.

When it was last run in 2016, the Blake Prize received 594 entries, and exhibited 80 finalists.

Finalists included well-known Australian artists Reg Mombassa, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Alan Jones, as well as a number of international entries.

For the first time an international artist claimed the prize, with Mumbai-based Yardena Kurulkar winning for her work Kenosis, 201. 

It consisted of photographs of terracotta replica of her heart, made with a 3D printer, slowly dissolving in water. 

In April of last year a touring exhibition of 26 finalists from the 2016 field came to Melbourne and was held at the Kinross Arts and Spirituality Centre located at Toorak Uniting Church.

One memorable work The Crusader, featured a head-and-shoulders image of the artist Liam Benson, looking like the full-bearded Ned Kelly, wearing only a transparent Islamic veil with a jewelled cross as the eye opening.

Benson wrote about the work, “it is our community spirituality that allows us to process the bias and prejudices and find a common humanity based in compassion”.

You can more about the Blake Prize and download entry forms here.




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