Long-standing art prize celebrates national talent

Published 13 December 2023

15 Artists 2023

City of Moreton Bay’s growing art collection has added another feather in its cap after naming esteemed Australian artist Robert Andrew as the winner of the 15 Artists contemporary art prize for 2023.

The prize is Council’s $20,000 acquisitive art award and showcases some of the best and brightest contemporary artists from around Australia as part of the Redcliffe Art Gallery’s 15 Artists exhibition.

Mayor Peter Flannery said the exhibition meant Moreton Bay locals didn’t have to travel outside of the city to see quality artwork.

“It’s great to see such a keen interest in our art prize growing every single year as it increases in stature and allows our amazing galleries to acquire brilliant new works,” he said.

“We had extraordinary artists again this year with 15 works staying on to be showcased as part of the 15 Artists exhibition on now at Redcliffe Art Gallery.

“Robert Andrew’s amazing work titled held within a voice is a more than worthy winner and we’re thrilled to have his work join our collection.

“Moreton Bay is fast becoming one of the hottest destinations for high quality and diverse arts experiences. Make sure you get along to 15 Artists and explore the incredible mix of works from leading artists across Australia on until February 10.

This year’s guest judge Megan Williams, Curator and Manager of University of the Sunshine Coast Art Gallery, said it was a pleasure and a privilege to judge 15 Artists in 2023 and praised Council’s commitment to bringing the best of contemporary Australian art to Moreton Bay.

“I think all the works submitted deserved to win 15 Artists, which was unfortunate for me because it made my job very tricky,” she said.

“But I had to decide, and after spending time with each work, and then spending more time with each work, it was Robert’s, held within a voice, that kept calling me back.

“The work comprises elements from the natural environment such as burnt branches, rocks, ochre, and shells suspended on strings hooked up to invisible mechanics that make the elements slowly move along the white gallery wall. As the elements move, they leave marks that build up to create a drawing of sorts and I love the idea that over time the work will change as a little more Country is left on the gallery wall every day.

“What surprised me about the work was how it made me slow down and pay attention. The elements move at a glacial pace, so slow you could almost miss it. This sense of time, duration and slowing down is integral intent of the work which is to articulate the relationship between language and Country for First Nations peoples.

Robert Andrew’s work, held within a voice, will now become a part of City of Moreton Bay’s Art Collection joining past winning artworks from acclaimed artists including Vernon Ah Kee, Lindy Lee, Ryan Presley, D Harding and Atong Atem.

The award-winning piece will be on display together with other compelling artworks at the Redcliffe Art Gallery until 10 February 2024.

Entry to the exhibition is free.

The Redcliffe Art Gallery is located at 1 Irene Street, Redcliffe and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm along with free weekly guided tours.

Visit Council’s galleries and museum website for more information.

Image: Left to right: Deb Bennett, Megan Williams, Robert Andrew, and Mayor Peter Flannery in front of Robert Andrew’s artwork in ‘15 Artists 2023’. Photography by Louis Lim.