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Maritime artists compete for the big money

27 Sep 2011

Maritime artists compete for the big money Image

By Bethany Williams

A record 112 artists are vying for the $15,000 first prize at the annual ANL Maritime Art Prize and Exhibition at the Mission to Seafarers this month.

Mission to Seafarers Victoria (MtSV) CEO Andrea Fleming said the exhibition was a great way to raise money for the mission’s work while also supporting maritime artists.

Since 2002, the work of more than 700 artists has been exhibited and over $119,000 in prize money has been awarded, in what is now recognised as Australia’s leading maritime art award.

All works exhibited at the mission at 717 Flinders St, Docklands, are for sale and pay a 33 per cent commission towards supporting seafarers’ welfare.

The exhibition has raised about $180,000 over the past nine years.

Ms Fleming said about 25 per cent of the work exhibited was sold.

The 112 artworks featured in this year’s exhibition were selected from 177 entries.

Ms Fleming said the entries included the work of many first-time entrants as well as returning artists. She said there were around 80 artists who consistently entered their work each year for the exhibition.

The exhibition will be held at the Mission to Seafarers building at 717 Flinders St from October 7 to October 23. It is open from Wednesday to Sunday between midday and 7pm. Entry with a gold coin donation.

“Being involved in the art show for five years now, it’s really lovely to see how the returning artists have progressed,” she said.

Most of the work exhibited is by established artists and the prize attracts both contemporary and traditional maritime artists.  

Artists who enter their work for the exhibition are required to respond to the theme “the relationship between humanity and the sea”.

Ann Howie, who was involved in the Roar art movement in the 1980s, is a first-time entrant this year.

“I’ve been painting the sea for a long while now, so it was interesting to consider the thematics of the relationship between humanity and the sea,” Ms Howie said.

Ms Howie’s entry is of a shipping container, with seafarers standing on top. “It reminds me of a raft,” she said.

While doing research for her painting, Ms Howie watched a variety of YouTube videos posted by seafarers in order to gain insight into their experiences. “It was a fascinating narrative to follow,” she said.

Apart from the first prize, Ms Howie and the other artists selected for the exhibition are eligible for the $5000 Best in Traditional Maritime Art Award, sponsored by ASP Ship Management, the $5000 Emerging Artist Award, sponsored by Bendigo Wealth and the $2000 People’s Choice Award sponsored by World Trade Centre.

Alex Baker, senior curator of contemporary art at the National Gallery of Victoria, Greg Creek senior lecturer in sculpture at RMIT School of Art and Melbourne-based contemporary artist Nadine Christensen will judge the work and decide the winners.

The winner of the first prize, Best in Traditional Maritime Art Award and Emerging Artist Award will be announced at the official opening of the exhibition at 6.30pm on Thursday, October 6 at the Mission to Seafarers building.

The People’s Choice Award, to be voted on by visitors to the exhibition, will be announced at the end of the exhibition.

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