Brisbane-based artist Julie Fragar has won the $15,000 Tidal: City of Devonport National Art Award for her monochromatic oil painting titled Antonio Departs Flores on the Whaling Tide.
Chosen from twenty-two finalists, Fragar’s award-winning composite painting is a layered and enigmatic documentation of her family history – past and present.
Central to the piece is the figure of Antonio de Fraga, a distant ancestor of the artist who lived on the Azore Islands off the coast of Portugal. As a twelve-year-old he was separated from his mother and secretly placed on a whaling ship by his father. Shipwrecked twice, the young man watched the ship’s crew being eaten by cannibals in Fiji before he was finally rescued by missionaries who brought him to Australia.
“Julie’s painting captures the wild adventure in a way which brings the present and the past together. The historic narrative reminds us of the continuing patterns of migration that reflect Australia today and is a compelling response to the ‘tidal’ theme,” said Tidal 2016 judges Jane Stewart and Jane Devery.
The judging panel for this year’s award included Jane Devery, Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Victoria and Jane Stewart, Principal Curator of Art at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
Established in 2004, the Tidal: City of Devonport National Art Award endeavours to promote excellence in contemporary visual art that reflects on natural, cultural, personal or political concerns related to the sea, coastal regions and coastal communities.
Previous winners have included Joel Crosswell and Paul Snell.
Works by all the finalists will be on show in the Tidal: City of Devonport National Art Award Exhibition.
Tidal: City of Devonport National Art Award 2016 Finalists’ Exhibition
Devonport Regional Gallery, Tasmania
26 November – 29 January