Words: Erin Irwin
The Ramsay Art Prize has revealed the winner of its 2023 People’s Choice Award as Yankunytjatjara artist Zaachariaha Fielding. His work Wonder Drug comprises of sixteen works that evoke the verbal and internal battles that must be faced during one’s life, and how this helps you grow as a person, navigating a complex modern world. For his win, the artist will receive a $15,000 prize.
This is a second win this year for Fielding, who also took out the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Wynne Prize. The artist’s practice is suffused with emotion – joyful and playful, without shying away from negativity.
Of his win, the artist states that “Winning this People’s Choice is the ultimate compliment, as an artist you put yourself out there and a judgement is always coming – good or bad. When people celebrate what you’ve created, there’s a feeling for me of being shoulder to shoulder with them, rather than in front. That is such a beautiful thing. I am so grateful to everyone who voted for my gremlins, I loved making them and I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed them too. Importantly, I dedicate this award to the elders and leaders who started my studio in Adelaide, it has changed my life and I will be forever indebted to them. Palya.”
Rhana Devenport ONZM, Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia which presents the prize, has said that “To win a people’s choice prize is an achievement of utmost praise to the artist – a true demonstration of the ways in which audiences have connected with an artist’s work. We congratulate Zaachariaha Fielding on this wonderful achievement.”
Fielding’s work will be on display amongst the other 27 finalists at the Art Gallery of South Australia until Sunday 27 August.
This article was posted 16 August 2023.
Image: Zaachariaha Fielding, Wonder Drug. Courtesy: the artist and the Ramsay Art Prize.