Moreton Bay Region Art Prize - 2022 winners

First prize


Karike Ashworth
Artist statement: Dr Karike Ashworth is a multidisciplinary artist-researcher-teacher. She employs the strategies of mutual implication, ambiguity and disconcerting humour - specifically, what their application in contemporary practice can reveal about power structures and/or societal order.

A roll of Viva paper towel is embroidered with a single, seemingly unbroken line of white thread (all the way through). The work comments on the matrilineality of care labour and took approximately 30 unpaid hours to make. The sewn paper towel is mounted on a 1970s-style paper towel holder.

Judge's note: On first glance the work can be dismissed as an ugly utilitarian object but then a single dangling thread catches your eye and the work grabs you. You trace the thread through delicate embroidery following the course of the absorbent rippling of a Viva paper towel roll. It hits you then - the stitching stretches the entire length of the roll, metres and metres of paper towel lovingly sewn and re-rolled into seeming ubiquitous usefulness. The mundanity of paper towel’s purpose denies the value thus embedded by the artists effort - the unseen, unheard, unwarranted and unpaid labour. Like our resources, the disposable is actually priceless.

Second prize

I Like Her Softness

Shannon Michaels
Artist statement: Shannon Michaels is a textile artist whose work is informed by her lived experience as a queer woman. Through sewing, quilting, embroidery and eco dying she explores themes including identity, inclusion, accessibility and sustainability.

Repurposed garment scraps merge sustainability, beauty and functionality. This improvised quilt combines abstract shapes, bold colours and hand quilting with embroidered natural forms found in Wamuran. Fusing tradition with rebellion, I Like Her Softness disrupts quilting narratives with queer diversions.

Judge's note: Exposing the inner overlocking of a 1960s eiderdown, meant to be hidden, yet displayed in centre frame, its ruffles and frills cut and curtailed from their uber feminine conventions, the work may seem gentle until it knocks you for six. Comfort is not something that is sort or on offer from this work, which is not quite quilt, nor baby’s blanket, nor practical cover. And comfort is not necessary.

Third prize

Under the Mountain I

Helen Evans
Artist statement: Helen Evans works and teaches from her studio set on 10 rural acres in Cedar Creek. She has been a practising artist since completing her degrees in textiles at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Helen Evans’ current practise is concerned with the landscape around her home. Under the Mountain I is part of a series based on the 180-degree view from Helen’s studio. Mount Lawson is a monolithic presence in the valley Helen lives in and the inspiration behind this series.

Judge's comments: The exquisiteness of the colour palette, the mark making, and the scale of this impressive landscape draws one near. The deconstruction of the panoramic view challenges us to piece the scene back together in one’s mind, like a sensorial jigsaw puzzle of colour and light. The work encapsulates the sense of freedom and calm from a fresh breath of country air.

Guest judge

Rachel Arndt, the Gallery Curator at The Condensery, Toogoolawah is the Judge for 2022. Rachel is an accomplished arts leader with over 20 years’ experience in the visual arts sector. She has held various leadership roles in visual arts programming, collections management, policy and grants management, and exhibition touring in Australia and internationally.

People's choice award

In the beginning

Kevin Pearson
Artist statement: Kevin Pearson is a very proud Yuin Saltwater man - his mother’s country is Gangurang (Kangaroo Valley, NSW). Pearson’s mother died at a very young age and he is just beginning on a path of learning about his Aboriginal culture.

In the Beginning is the story of where we come from and where we go - Yuin people believe the spirits of our warrior ancestors become killer whales, guwara, and our women become stars in the night sky.