Footscray Art Prize judges and committee members with the 2021 winners.

Northern Territory based artist Lee Harrop has been awarded the $10,000 Footscray Art Prize for her sculptural work that interrogates the mining industry using a hand-engraved core sample.

The winning work, titled And this, too, shall pass, was selected by the judging panel – made up of NGV’s Myles Russell-Cook, VCA’s Vikki McInnes, and freelance curator Kirsty Grant – from 39 shortlisted artworks after the judges initially reviewed over 830 entries into the third iteration of the Prize.

The judges observed that the work is “modest in scale and quiet in its presentation, but in this apparent simplicity, it has great power.” They were impressed by the materiality of the object – solid and tactile – that speaks to a deep time.

Core samples have become a regular feature in Harrop’s arts practice, influenced by her collaborations with Western Australian and Northern Territory Geological Core Libraries. The naturally occurring substances are typically mined and analysed to determine what materials lay beneath the earth’s surface.

“Utilising text and quoting a familiar adage that reflects on the temporary nature of human existence, it resonates widely, reminding us of our connections to the past and responsibilities to the future.” concluded the judges.

As a PhD candidate at Charles Darwin University, Harrop explores the representations of mining, its connection to the wider global discourse about its environmental impact, and the present pandemic.

A new category, the $10,000 Local Artist Acquisition Prize, has also been awarded to Sunshine-based artist Simon Clark for his work Gaskin Gardens. The impact of the pandemic on our communities is a strong theme in the exhibition, and Clark’s intricately layered collage reflects on the confinement that many commission housing residents experienced during lockdown. The artwork will be acquired into Maribyrnong City Council’s art collection.

Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC) will soon receive a new mural addition thanks to the $5,000 Street Art Prize, which was awarded to Macedon resident Emma Coulter. Her mural, to be installed in the next few weeks, will attempt to create a ‘window’ between the community and FCAC. The judges selected this work for the potential it has to instantly engage visitors to the area, “drawing them in with the strength of its design, the way it plays with perception, as well as its joyful colour.”

Two artists – Ahmad Sabra and Scotty So – also received a residency with FCAC as part of the new Emerging Artist category.

Local artists Rosie Kalina and Dawn Tan selected the winners of the Young Artists Prize categories from over 160 artworks, which are displayed at Victoria University’s MetroWest venue.

The biennial prize is a unique collaboration between:

  • Victoria University
  • Maribyrnong City Council
  • Footscray Community Arts Centre
  • Rotary Club of Footscray.

And this, too, shall pass, and winning entries in Local Artist Acquisition, Street Art, Emerging Artist and Young Artist categories, are viewable in free exhibitions at Footscray Community Arts Centre and VU at MetroWest until Saturday 5 June 2021.

For more information about the exhibition visit www.footscrayartprize.com/exhibitions, which includes an online catalogue and 360 video tour.

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