$10,000 Prize for artists who serve

Brooke Boland

The Napier Waller Art Prize is now open and calling for entries from current and former Australian Defence Force Personnel.
$10,000 Prize for artists who serve

Rob Douma, Green on Blue: The betrayal of trust, drawn 2018, charcoal on snowdon archival paper, acquired 2018, AWM2018.809.1

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The Australian War Memorial is inviting current and former Australian Defence Force personnel to enter their art works in the 2019 Napier Waller Art Prize

As the only Art Prize offered to former and current Defence personnel at a national level – and after a successful inaugural year in 2018 with over 100 entries submitted – the Napier Waller Art Prize is back and is expected to generate even more interest in 2019. 

‘We were hoping the Prize would be successful, but we were quite surprised by the response that we got in 2018. Last year the Prize came about very quickly and we had a short period of time to organise it, so it was quite interesting to see the amount of entries we had, which was just fantastic,’ said Laura Webster, Head of Art at Australian War Memorial.

‘I’m hoping that people who saw last year’s Art Prize felt more interested in making art themselves, so that this year we have even more entries from people wanting to explore art,’ Webster said. 

‘That is something we are very interested in – whether people felt they are artists or not – how art can be used by people and how they can explore it themselves.’

The Napier Waller Art Prize has developed thanks to the Australian War Memorial’s desire to engage current and former service people. It has evolved in collaboration with the University of Canberra, which houses a special area of study dedicated to understanding how the creative arts can help people who have experienced trauma. 

‘There have been so many studies recently that have shown how the creative arts – whether that’s the visual arts, drama, writing, et cetera – can help people’s recovery, whether that person is suffering from PTSD or any other kind of trauma. We found that quite interesting, so we started discussing how we could incorporate that into what we do as curators here at the Australian War Memorial. That’s when the idea of the art prize came about,’ said Webster.

What you need to know about entering the Napier Waller Art Prize

Entries to the 2019 Napier Waller Art Prize close on 10 June 2019 and can be submitted online. Artworks can be in any visual art medium, including but not limited to: painting, photography, printmaking, drawing, sculpture, digital, decorative, and installation. 

The only stipulation is that the work must not exceed 2 x 2 x 2 metres, and must have been completed in the 24 months prior to submission. There is no set theme for the prize.

‘It doesn’t have to be about a person’s service, we’re open to any kind of artwork on any subject. It doesn’t have to be military or service based whatsoever,’ said Webster.

The winner receives:

  • $10,000 cash prize sponsored by Thales Australia;
  • A two-week research residency in the Art Section of the Memorial;
  • A mentoring day with eX de Medici, former official war artist; and
  • Display of the winning work at the Memorial, where it will also be acquired into the National Collection.

People’s Choice

The Napier Waller Art Prize will be complemented with a $5,000 People’s Choice Award.

For more information, visit awm.gov.au/napier-waller-art-prize

About the author

Brooke Boland is a freelance writer based on the South Coast of NSW.