2017 SALA Awards winners announced

SALA Jane Skeer FlyersA portrait of Australian music icon John Schumann, sculptures made from old movie flyers and a painting by a 90-year-old aged care resident are among the winning artworks selected in the 2017 South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival Awards.

Announced at a gala ceremony held at The Advertiser building in Adelaide on Friday evening, five emerging and established South Australian artists shared in more than $11,000 in cash and prizes in the annual awards, which recognise artistic achievement across all mediums and practices and are judged by a panel of experts and influencers across the arts, media and commercial sectors.

28-year-old Adelaide sculptural artist Julia McInerney was honoured with the night’s biggest cash prize, winning the $5,000 The Advertiser Contemporary Art Award for her work, Leaves – a series of three sculptures created from squid ink, sand cast aluminium and a suitcase. Ms McInerney’s winning piece will be shown along with other finalists’ work in the lobby of The Advertiser building at 31 Waymouth Street, Adelaide, and will remain on display for the duration of the SALA Festival.

Mt Gambier born, Adelaide based sculptor and installation artist Jane Skeer took home the City Rural Emerging Artist Award, winning $2,500 cash for her work, Flyers – for which she transformed old theatre, cinema and advertising brochures into whimsical hanging sculptures.

The result of an artist residency at the Adelaide Festival Centre, Flyers demonstrates Ms Skeer’s work with found objects and repurposed materials to create works in response to the centre’s people, spaces and architecture. At 52 years old Ms Skeer proves emerging artists don’t have to be young, having begun her studies just six years ago.

Adelaide Hills based painter Andrea Malone was a winner for the second year in a row, taking home the $2,000 City Of Unley Active Ageing Award for artists over 60 for her stunning portrait of Australian music icon John Schumann. In 2016 Malone was the recipient of SALA’s Don Dunstan Foundation Award for her evocative portraits of Vietnam veterans commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, an exhibition which led to her collaboration with the I Was Only 19 singer/songwriter.

Ninety-year-old North Adelaide Helping Hand resident Len Harvey won The Adelaide Review Outsider Art Award, taking home $1,000 for his portrait of fellow resident, Jim. Mr Harvey was a surprise nominee after being entered in the awards secretly by his Helping Hand painting group leader.

The Centre for Creative Photography Latent Image Award went to emerging photography artist Lee Walter of Adelaide, who will receive up to $725 worth of in-kind assistance at the centre such as studio and darkroom hire, workshops and mentoring.

Four SALA Award categories are still to be announced in August, with more than $27,000 in cash and prizes to be awarded including the Unitcare Services Moving Image Award, the Atkins Photographic Award and the Third Royal South Australian Society of Arts Biennial Portrait Prize.

Nominations are also still open until August 31 for the SALA Festival Patron’s Art Writer’s Award – open to writers anywhere in the world writing about South Australian living visual artists.

SALA Festival Director Penny Griggs commended the winners and finalists, saying the high standard of entries in this year’s awards had made the judges’ task even more difficult. “Every year we are consistently impressed at the high quality of works submitted for the SALA Awards, and 2017 was absolutely no exception,” said Ms Griggs.

“This year we received nearly 300 entries from artists of all backgrounds and art forms from right across South Australia, showing the incredible breadth of art making we have in this state.”

Celebrating its 20th year in 2017, the SALA Festival is an innovative, open-access visual arts festival celebrating and promoting the diverse talents of South Australian Living Artists through unique collaborations and exhibitions in hundreds of spaces throughout metropolitan and regional South Australia every August.

The 2017 SALA Festival runs throughout August. The full program is now available online. For more information, visit: www.salafestival.com for details.

Image: Jane Skeer, Flyers (supplied)