Melbourne-based artist Megan Evans has been awarded the $10,000 Footscray Art Prize for her powerful photograph that examines the impact of colonisation on identity.
Her winning work, PARLOUR, was chosen from over 800 entries into the second iteration of the Prize, which first opened in 2017.
The biennial prize is a unique collaboration between Victoria University, Maribyrnong City Council, Footscray Community Arts Centre and the Rotary Club of Footscray with PARLOUR, along with winners in Street Art, Tertiary and Young Artist categories, able to be seen in exhibitions at Footscray Community Arts Centre and VU at MetroWest until 20 July 2019.
The judging panel - made up of ACMI’s Katrina Sedgwick, ACCA’s Hannah Presley and VCA’s Raafat Ishak - selected the winners after a full day of judging 33 shortlisted works, spanning photography, video, paintings, and sculpture.
They recognised Megan Evans as an important artist at a significant point in her practise, and found themselves lost in the “complex storytelling that requires a sustained viewing” of her award-winning photograph.
“The responsibility she takes for her history is something deeply embedded in the power of the work”, they continued.
Evans is an interdisciplinary artist, working in video, photography, sculpture and installation who began her creative life creating large political murals in the 1980s. Her socially engaged career has spanned several decades and practices with her work featured in exhibitions and publications nationally and internationally. Most recently, she’s had residencies at the Slade School of Art in London, at the Royal Standard, hosted by the Liverpool Biennale, and at BOXOprojects in Joshua Tree, California.
The panel also selected Dogs of the West by Justine McAllister, the light-hearted winner of the Street Art category and mum & me by Natalie Krcevinac, a multilayered video work for the Tertiary category from a shortlist of 3 and 22 artworks respectively. Independent creative producer, Simon Spain, selected the winners of the young artist categories from over 160 artworks.
The winning artwork along with other shortlisted entrants is on display now at Footscray Community Arts Centre, 45 Moreland Street, Footscray. The winners and shortlisted works in the tertiary and young artist categories are on display at VU at MetroWest, 138 Nicholson Street, Footscray. These exhibitions are free and open until 20 July.
Overview of winners
Footscray Art Prize winner (main prize)
Situated in a classic Victorian space, Evans sits with friend and colleague Maree Clarke who is ‘ghosting’ in traditional mourning wear, while Evans is wearing a replica of her grandmother’s Victorian dress, embroidering a skull.
Pen, pencil, grey lead and marker
Manhattan 1952 is a re-imagining after World War II based on what ifs.
Street Art Prize winner
Dogs of the West
This artwork showcases portraits of dogs that frequently visit Martin Reserve dog park in Footscray. This park provides a place for locals to meet, a place for dogs to interact and has provided a place for many rescue dogs to rehabilitate. McAllister visits the park with her two dogs daily. The artwork will be installed on the corner of Irving and Nicholson Streets over the coming weeks and will be able to be viewed from mid-late July.
Tertiary Prize winner
mum & me, 2018
mum & me is a series of myself flirting with strangers over Skype calls. Always wearing a white business shirt, filmed in a red room with conversations I have with my mother overlayed. It views the dichotomy of a mother and daughter relationship, exploring my experimentation and exploration into early adulthood. This artwork is on display at VU at MetroWest as part of the Footscray Art Prize exhibition until 20 July.
Young Artist Prize winners - joint (secondary)
My painting, 'Unconditional', is inspired by the deep love and connection between my dog and myself. I wanted to show that dogs are capable of incredible empathy, even, and perhaps especially, when we are at our lowest point.
Overwhelmed communicates the pressure felt by young adults in busy contemporary life. As a single child my parents have high expectations for my study. Often emotions can be internalised and become immense, 'overwhelmed' expresses the isolation experienced when under continual pressure.
Young Artist Prize winner (primary)
Mayo Areej Fujieda
Dogs make us all happy, 2018
Delicate, hand painted porcelain figures created as a Christmas gift, featuring the artist and her family playing with their dogs.
Image: Megan Evans with her winning work PARLOUR, photographed by Jessica Ibacache.