Sarah Contos wins inaugural Ramsay Art Prize

AGSA Sarah Contos, Sarah Contos Presents The Long Kiss Goodbye, 2016 - photo by Jessica MaurerSydney-based artist Sarah Contos has won the 2017 Ramsay Art Prize, Australia’s richest prize for young contemporary artists worth $100,000, with her work Sarah Contos Presents: The Long Kiss Goodbye.

“This is Sarah Contos’ most ambitious work to date,” said Art Gallery of South Australia, Director Nick Mitzevich. “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.”

The judges were unanimous in their appreciation of the work and feel that the selection of Perth-born Contos as the inaugural winner of the Ramsay Art Prize represents a wonderful beginning for the Prize.

“Contos’ 21st century quilt spills over, and, like a new epic history tableaux, celebrates power women in all their glory with fireworks, sequins and PVC,” said 2017 Ramsay Art Prize judge and Art Gallery of South Australia, Curator of Contemporary Art, Leigh Robb.

James and Diana Ramsay shared a lifelong passion for the arts. As the state’s leading cultural philanthropists, they have helped to build careers and collections. They have also enriched the lives of thousands of young people through their support of programs such as Start and The Studio at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

“Our priority as a Foundation is to support quality arts organisations and the Prize is a great opportunity to support an artist directly,” said Chair of the Foundation Nicholas Ross. “The Ramsay Art Prize, established in perpetuity in their name, aims to share this passion and inspire generation after generation of artists and art lovers”

All 21 finalists are also eligible for a People’s Choice Prize. This non acquisitive cash prize of $15,000 is chosen by public vote and will be announced on 11 August 2017.

The 2017 Ramsay Art Prize exhibition runs from 27 May to 27 August 2017 at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Admission is free. For further information, visit: for details.

Image: Sarah Contos, Sarah Contos Presents: The Long Kiss Goodbye, 2016, screen-print on linen, canvas and lamé, digital printed fabrics and various found fabrics, PVC, poly-fil, glass, ceramic and plastic beads, thread, artists’ gloves, 610 x 330 x 25 cm; Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and STATION Gallery, Melbourne – photo by Jessica Maurer