A Surry Hills NSW local, Stevens was selected as the winner from 80 finalist works. A blind judging process lead by a team of four industry professionals took place before Stevens was announced the winner of the $35,000 cash prize.
One of Australia’s longest running and most prestigious prizes, the Blake Prize engages contemporary artists with ideas of religion and spirituality. This year there were 769 entries from artists hailing from Belgium, Germany, Greece, Norway, United States and United Kingdom and from every Australian state and territory. Finalists range from leading contemporary practitioners to emerging and self-taught artists.
Stevens’ work, Giant Rock is a performance video piece in which the artist explores how certain life beliefs for some are the antithesis for others with the use of a rock and roll drum kit. Filmed in situ at Giant Rock in the Mojave Desert – a once spiritual place that now attracts dirt bikes and graffiti, Stevens inhabits the location visually and sonically, tuning into the frequencies of the site and history of the place.
Two other Sydney artists were awarded prizes on the evening. Northbridge resident Pamela Leung was the winner of the $6,000 Blake Emerging Artist Prize for her work SORRY I NO UNDERSTAND – a reflection on the experience of dislocation, and the humanity within social justice.
Tracey Clement of Annandale was awarded the Blake Established Artist Residency for her sculptural piece Metropolis Experiment, which depicts a post-apocalyptic vision of a ruined city. The Blake Established Artist Residency prize includes a one-month residency and solo exhibition at CPAC.
“These winning works represent a mix of the astounding artists we have here in Australia,” said CPAC Director Craig Donarski. “These three winners really were the cream of the crop and in a pool of 769 entries from around Australia and around the globe. It really is a testament to the quality of their works and the talent of the individuals to stand out so remarkably in such a large competition.”
An exhibition of the 80 Blake Prize finalists is currently on display at CPAC until Sunday 1 July 2018. For more information, visit: www.casulapowerhouse.com for details.
Image: Tina Havelock Stevens, Giant Rock, 2017 (video still) – courtesy of the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre