A new prize for Australian contemporary artists under 40 years of age was last night announced by Premier Jay Weatherill at the Art Gallery of South Australia.
The Ramsay Art Prize, a $100 000 acquisitive award, will be supported in perpetuity by the James & Diana Ramsay Foundation and is designed to give encouragement and support to artists in what is often a period of career-defining output. “Generally speaking, artists make their mark early – they establish a signature that is then honed but often their early work is brave, fresh and career defining,” Art Gallery director Nick Mitzevich said in a press release. “Tom Roberts painted A break away! when he was 35 years old proving that artists often hit their heights in their early years and that opportunities early on are formative and can change the nature of Australian art,” he said. Unique among national competitions, The Ramsay Art Prize will invite submissions from young artists working in any medium. Finalists will then be selected by an international judging panel consisting of a contemporary art specialist, an Australian artist or curator and a representative of the Art Gallery. Already confirmed as judges for the first round of The Ramsay Art Prize in 2017 are the Art Gallery’s new contemporary art curator, Leigh Robb, and young Australian artist Nell. The James and Diana Ramsay Foundation is a philanthropic group funding worthy projects in the arts, medical research and youth empowerment. James and Diana had donated millions of dollars to the Art Gallery since 1972, and after James’ passing, Diana set up the Foundation in his memory in 2008. Diana hailed the new prize as “a wonderful opportunity for young artists to create exciting new work”. Premier Jay Weatherill said that The Ramsay Art Prize is “further affirmation of the importance of nurturing Australia’s cultural landscape” and praised the foundation’s generosity in its support for the prize. “The James & Diana Ramsay Foundation’s generous and ongoing investment in the Art Prize demonstrates their foresight and commitment to future generation of artists and art lovers,” he said. Submissions for The Ramsay Art Prize will open as of September 2016. www.artgallery.sa.gov.au/ramsay Image: Artist Nell and Curator of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Leigh Robb, inaugural judges of the Ramsay Art Prize 2017 with Director, Art Gallery of South Australia, Nick Mitzevich.