First look: Ramsay Art Prize 2017 exhibition at AGSA

Words by Haneen Martin
Photos by Dave Court

 

The Art Gallery of South Australia launches the first ever Ramsay Art Prize exhibition tomorrow, an awe-inspiring gallery filled with contemporary Australian works from the 21 finalists under the age of 40. South Australia was strongly represented by absolute powerhouses and Indigenous artists James Tylor and Vincent Namatjira and it was equally pleasing to see fierce female representation amongst the finalists.

Sydney-based mixed media artist Sarah Contos was awarded the inaugural prize of $100,000 by the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation for contemporary Australian artists under 40 at the Art Gallery of South Australia this morning. Curator of Contemporary Art, Leigh Robb said of the work  "Contos’ 21st century quilt spills over, and, like a new epic history tableaux, celebrates power women in all their glory with fireworks, sequins and PVC." Contos' winning piece is the most recent acquisition of the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Sarah Contos Presents: The Long Kiss Goodbye, Sarah Contos, screenprint on linen, canvas and lame, digital printed fabrics, various found fabrics, PVC, polyfil, glass, ceramic, plastic beads, thread, artists' gloves, 2016

Sarah Contos Presents: The Long Kiss Goodbye, Sarah Contos, screenprint on linen, canvas and lame, digital printed fabrics, various found fabrics, PVC, polyfil, glass, ceramic, plastic beads, thread, artists' gloves, 2016

There is a tonne of tactile and experiential moments to be had at this exhibition, making it impossible for us to predict who the People's Choice Prize winner might be. We think Keg De Souza's protest installation in the form of best-tent-ever, We Built this City, is definitely a strong contender. There are iPads within the gallery for easy voting.

All 21 finalists are also eligible for a People’s Choice Prize supported by sponsors Lipman Karas. This non-
acquisitive cash prize of $15,000 is chosen by public vote and will be announced on 11 August 2017.

The 2017 Ramsay Art Prize exhibition runs from 27 May to 27 August 2017 at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Admission is free. For further information click here.