Sculpture in the Gaol 2019 Winners

Image: Raptor by Alf Blakey (photo: Jessica Robertson)

Prizes amounting to the value of $5,450 were awarded on Saturday to winners in numerous categories of sculpture, photography and group installations, reflecting the broad range of submissions to this year’s Sculpture in the Gaol exhibition.

This year’s judge was professional artist Chris Edwards of 'Edwards Clarke', a designer, public art specialist and a descendant of the Gumbaynggir and Dunghutti people. Chris said, “There is some really beautiful work on display at this exhibition and I’ve loved spending time studying the exhibits.”

The overall Judge’s Art Prize was awarded to Alf Blakey for his keenly-observed work ‘Raptor’, while the People’s Vote saw Sam Hawkins’ impressive piece ‘Vern’ elected as winner. A further $750 was awarded in travel bursaries to artists travelling interstate to exhibit, while several artists were provided complimentary accommodation to help facilitate their participation.

Kempsey Shire Council General Manager Craig Milburn was on hand to hand certificates to artists chosen by public vote at the closing ceremony held at Seabreeze Beach Hotel. Prizes and commendations recognised 20 works and artists, including the hundreds of school students and community members who contribute to group installations.

Event organiser Phil Nicholas of Events Delivered said, “This was a vintage year for Sculpture in the Gaol with a breathtaking diversity in art media and presentation. We instigated a new Installations Prize to recognise the increasing number of exhibits in this category, where artists often respond to the venue.”

“So many people visited this year, we believe there is scope to next year’s opening weekend into a three-day festival of art workshops, cultural activities and exhibition,” Phil said.

More than 5,000 visitors were recorded at Trial Bay Gaol during the month-long exhibition, with approximately 2,000 attending the popular opening gala weekend in early August. The new Saturday night art opening ‘Gaol After Dark’ provided particularly popular with over 150 guests enjoying food, local craft beer, live music and fire twirling in the atmospheric, spot-lit Gaol with the Milky Way overhead.

2019 Sculpture in the Gaol was presented by a sub-committee of the Macleay Valley Arts Council and was made possible thanks to sponsorship from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Kempsey Shire Council, Coastline Credit Union, Seabreeze Beach Hotel and several other local businesses. Follow all the results on Instagram @sculptureinthegaol

Phil Nicholas