Mid West Art Prize:Winners revealed to a crowd of 500 at Geraldton opening night

Phoebe PinMidwest Times
Artist Mikaela Castledine with her piece Catch, which won the City of Greater Geraldton Overall Award for Excellence.
Camera IconArtist Mikaela Castledine with her piece Catch, which won the City of Greater Geraldton Overall Award for Excellence. Credit: TAMATI SMITH/Tamati Smith

Creatives from Geraldton and beyond were recognised at the 2021 Mid West Art Prize exhibition opening at the weekend in front of a 500-strong crowd.

Opening night saw part of Chapman Road closed to traffic as the event spilled out beyond the gallery walls.

Hosted by the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery, the two-yearly prize invites artists from across WA to enter their finest works which have never before been exhibited.

This year’s judges were John Curtin Gallery manager Jane King, Sculpture at Bathers artistic director Sandra Murray, and Gallery East Art Services co-director Janis Nedela.

The panel had the tough task of selecting winning pieces from 63 shortlisted items, with works entered across media including textiles, photography, film, acrylic, ink, bronze, and clay.

Perth-based artist Mikaela Castledine won the City of Greater Geraldton overall award for excellence for her work Catch, which paid homage to a love of fishing passed down through the generations.

John Curtin Gallery manager Jane King, Sculpture at Bathers 2022 artistic director Sandra Murray and co-director of Gallery East Art Services Janis Nedela.
Camera IconJohn Curtin Gallery manager Jane King, Sculpture at Bathers 2022 artistic director Sandra Murray and co-director of Gallery East Art Services Janis Nedela. Credit: TAMATI SMITH/Tamati Smith

Castledine said the work was inspired by a 1970s photo of herself and her siblings standing around a washing line pegged with seven cobblers caught by her father.

“It is such a weird thing to stand your children next to the dead fish ... it has always made me laugh,” she said.

The piece repurposes the gidgee spear her father used to bring in the catch, with Castledine saying materials were specifically chosen to give meaning to the piece. “My mum was a textile artist and a lot of my previous stuff has referred back to her practice, but this one was overtly about Dad,” she said.

“He would have his spear, his gidgee, and my older brother and I would walk alongside him at night. It was a really nice piece to do because of Dad and those beautiful memories.”

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She said the piece was also a thoughtful reflection on the increasing “disconnect” between the present and the “hunter-gather” was of the past.

Geraldton’s Leah Vlatko won the Bowman-Bright Mid West artist award for her work Study of Banksia, an artwork which Ms Castledine described as “really beautiful”.

“(The banksia flowers) are crocheted using wire, which is a really lovely technique. It is not easy to do and I really admire that,” she said.

“What was really beautiful about that piece was not just the making but the way it was hung and the way the light hit it and the way the shadows came off it.”

The Latitude Jewellers Youth Award went to Elliot Brown for his short film Glimpse, which explored how technology can alter people think and feel.

ABOVE: Yamatji Art Aboriginal Arts Award winners Pia Wadjarri Remote Community and School. LEFT: Graphite and oil piece Gumnut study: two views by artist Ric Spencer
Camera IconABOVE: Yamatji Art Aboriginal Arts Award winners Pia Wadjarri Remote Community and School. LEFT: Graphite and oil piece Gumnut study: two views by artist Ric Spencer Credit: TAMATI SMITH/Tamati Smith

The Pia Wadjarri Remote Community and School won the Yamaji Art Aboriginal arts award for their video Ganun-Ganunmanha (Tread Lightly), which focused on “understanding Wajarri Barna and the interconnections that sustain us all”.

The exhibition will be on show at Geraldton Regional Art Gallery until January 30. The winner of the people’s choice award will be announced on February 4.

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