Inaugural art prize awarded to Western Australian artist

Girra: Fraser Coast National Art Prize takes wing.

Words: Erin Irwin

Receiving 274 entries in its first year, Girra: Fraser Coast National Art Prize has now announced the winner of its first edition. Presented by Hervey Bay Regional Gallery and Fraser Coast Regional Council, the prize encourages artists from around Australia to interact with and respond to their environment through their chosen medium.

Judges Dr Fiona Foley, Peta Rake and Ashleigh Whatling chose a work by Anna Louise Richardson from among 18 finalists, naming her piece I asked for a sign (wedge-tailed eagle) as the winner of the $25,000 acquisitive prize.

Haling from the Peel Region of Western Australia, Richardson pursues a practice that honours her experience of the Australian landscape. The winning work is impressive in scale, inspired by the artist’s encounters with birds of prey after the death of her mother. The work is startlingly realistic, its larger-than-life subject staring straight at the viewer, opening a dialogue between artist, audience and environment.

Of the prize, Ashleigh Watling – both judge and Director of Hervey Bay Regional Gallery – says that the winner’s work “will become a significant early acquisition for the newly focused art collection of the Fraser Coast”. This is an important development, providing opportunities to experience a range of contemporary practice to local constituents, and enabling both emerging and established artists to engage with themes that are crucial to current discourse.

All finalist works will be on show at Hervey Bay Regional Gallery until Sunday 12 November.

This article was posted 29 September 2023.

Image: Anna Louise Richardson, I asked for a sign (wedge-tailed eagle), installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Hervey Bay Regional Gallery, Pialba.


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