Winners announced for the new Wollumbin Art Award 2022

Amber Wallis wins the inaugural Wollumbin Art Award top prize at Tweed Regional Gallery.

Words: Nabila Chemaissem

Byron Shire-based artist Amber Wallis has been awarded the top prize in the inaugural Wollumbin Art Award (WAA) at Tweed Regional Gallery. She received the award for the painting of her daughter, entitled Ivy with Eyes. Wallis, who is represented by Nicholas Thompson Gallery in Melbourne, will receive $15,000 and undertake a two-week residency at the Gallery’s Nancy Fairfax Artist in Residence Studio as part of the award.

The Wollumbin Art Award is the Tweed Regional Gallery’s new biennial $30,000 award, named after the mountain the Gallery overlooks. The award encompasses an array of prizes and recognitions. The WAA is without theme or specified medium for submission, and is open to artists living in the Tweed, Ballina, Byron, Kyogle and Scenic Rim Shires, as well as Lismore and Gold Coast City.

The prize was judged by curator and editor of VAULT magazine, Alison Kubler, who commented: “This award demonstrates both the calibre of the talent pool, artists who hold their own on the national stage, and the appetite for supporting local artists. It’s just great to see, and to acknowledge, how many excellent artists live in the region.”

Alongside Wallis, Tweed-based Bundjalung artist Michael Philp won the $10,000 First Nations Bundjalung Award for his painting Pearly Shells, a piece honouring his aunt and grandmother. As a part of the award, Philp is set to exhibit at the Gallery in 2023 with a solo show.

The WAA $5,000 Emerging Artist Award was received by Byron Shire-based artist Mia Forrest for her video Red Flowering Gum, in motion, a work toying with the tradition of still life.

There were many notable artists also recognised by the WAA Highly Commended accolade, with guest judge, artist Tamsin Ainslie selecting artworks by young artists between the ages of 5 and 18.

The Wollumbin Art Award finalist exhibition is on view at Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre until Sunday 20 November. The Wollumbin Youth Art Award will close one week later, on Sunday 27 November.

The exhibitions are free to the public and visitors can join some of the WAA finalists for an exhibition walkthrough on Sunday 9 October and Sunday 30 October from 2pm.

The WAA Bundjalung Award is sponsored by Tweed Regional Gallery Foundation Ltd. The WAA Emerging Artist Award is supported by Leanne and Greg Tong-Lyon. The Wollumbin Youth Art Award is sponsored by the Friends of the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc.

This article was posted 12 October 2022.

Image: Amber Wallis, ‘Ivy With Eyes’, 2021. Oil on linen, 150 x 130cm. 

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