The Solar Art Prize was launched in 2010 as a means to draw greater attention to climate change and allow artists the opportunity to be part of the dialogue and educate the public about environmental issues through their artwork.
Open to all South Australian artists working in any medium, the prize is unique in that the winners receive vouchers for solar products from Natural Technology Systems. This year’s prize saw 106 artworks entered from 66 artists, which was whittled down to 68 finalist artworks. The large number and range of works entered reflects the artistic community’s concerns about the effects of climate change.
This year’s judges – George Aldridge, Lauryn Arnott and Jonathan Woore – were impressed by the standard of work, selecting David Braun as the overall winner for his extremely detailed pen drawing, Rocky Top, Mount Lofty.
When Braun moved to Australia in 1978 he was instantly impressed by the landscape, particularly the gum trees. “I am very much inspired by place and by nature,” he says. “The environment here, the look and the feel of the place is staggering and it doesn’t exist anywhere else. I have fallen more in love with Australia over the years and my work reflects my love and admiration for it.”
Braun’s work follows the long-established Australian tradition of cherishing the Australian bush. “I am trying to show the intricacies and capture the emotion of the landscape,” he says. “I want to remind people that nature is intricate. People don’t look anymore and appreciate it.”
The two overall second prizes were awarded to Kate Holmes for her handwoven work Drought and Will Powrie for his sculpture, Regrowth, created with found objects, copper and steel.
Other prizes awarded for specific categories include: Helen Stacey’s, Autumn Showers Coming for painting in oil or acrylic; Iroda Adil’s charcoal drawing of Clinton Carty (owner of Organically Grown shop in Magill) for the works on paper category; Vanessa Lee received the 3D and sculpture prize for her work, Best Supporting Role Goes to; Adam Dutkiewicz’s The Path to Salt won the photography and digital prize; and the award ‘for everything else’ went to Maria Holst Salomonsen for her sculpture Drought.
The 10th Solar Art Prize consists of a high calibre of works, and the variety of media used to express the many different issues relating to climate change is indicative of how broad the topic is. By creating works and entering them in the Solar Art Prize, South Australian artists are providing an alternative point of view in the hope that they can help bring these issues to the forefront of people’s minds.
10th Solar Art Prize: Caring for our planet
RSASA Gallery Until Sunday, June 9
David Braun, Rocky Top, Mount Lofty, pen.