Sarah Contos Wins Inaugural Ramsay Art Prize

Sarah Contos has been named the winner of the inaugural Ramsay Art Prize for her work Sarah Contos Presents: The Long Kiss Goodbye.

The Perth-born, Sydney-based artist received the prize today, rising above a field of 21 young finalists after unanimous appreciation from the competition’s judges.

Leigh Robb, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia and competition judge, said Contos’ work was a “21st century quilt” and “like a new epic history tableaux, [that] celebrates power women in all their glory with fireworks, sequins and PVC.”

“This is Sarah Contos’ most ambitious work to date,” said Art Gallery of South Australia Director Nick Mitzevich of Sarah Contos Presents: The Long Kiss Goodbye in a release.

“This tour de force brings together aspects of her career from the last four years. Previous works of art and exhibition histories are all captured in this textile time-capsule, making it a self-initiated retrospective of her life in art.”


In her artist statement, Contos says she “create[s] self-generated mythologies that evoke dichotomies synonymous with being a woman,” and explains that her grand textile piece is “a ‘scrapbook’ of these contrasts and embraces their emotional value.”

Supported by the philanthropic James and Diana Ramsay Foundation, 2017 marks the very first awarding of the Ramsay Art Prize, which has firmly established itself as Australia’s richest art prize for artists under 40 years of age. The biennial award will be awarded again in 2019.

Lipman Karas People’s Choice Prize

Yet to be announced is the non-acquisitive Lipman Karas People’s Choice Prize of $15,000, of which all 21 finalists are still eligible for. A public vote will open tomorrow and run until August 6 to determine the award’s winner, with the result being announced on August 11.

The 2017 Ramsay Art Prize Exhibition of all finalist works continues at the Art Gallery of South Australia until Sunday, August 27.

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