Congratulations to Ida Sophia who has won the $100,000 Ramsay Art Prize for her performance-based video work, Witness, which is informed by the South Australian artist’s early childhood experience of observing her father’s baptism.
With the work receiving the top prize in true acknowledgement of the diversity of art forms in museums and galleries today, the piece captures the artist in a relentless performance. The moving image work was shot in a single take at The Pool of Siloam in Wirmalngrang/Beachport in regional South Australia, and shows Sophia undertaking an intense series of submergences, pushing baptism to obsession.
While Sophia is foremost a performance artist, her work spans sculpture and installation to centre her body in performance. She previously studied at The Marina Abramovic Institute in Greece, and her work centres primal emotions: hope, regret, familial tension and grief.
The breadth of Sophia’s capturing of such experience is acknowledged by a statement from one of the award judges, Aaron Seeto, director of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Nusantara in Jakarta. Seeto says, “Ida Sophia’s winning work, Witness, is sophisticated in concept and deeply emotive in subject, successfully embodying and transmitting a very visceral experience through video, which can be technically difficult to achieve.”
Hosted by the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Ramsay Art Prize is awarded for artwork in any medium including sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, installation and moving image—as long as it’s a new work, and by an artist under 40 years.
It is the largest prize award for artists under 40 in Australia, aiming to accelerate the practices of younger contemporary artists in this country.
The award-winning work, and all finalist works, will be showing at the Art Gallery of South Australia.