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Mosman Art Prize 2019 winner announced

10 September 2019

Paul Kelleher has joined a roll call of art luminaries as the winner of this year’s $50,000 Mosman Art Prize for his work, The party is over.

The Prize, run by Mosman Art Gallery, is the oldest and most prestigious Council run art prize in Australia and this year attracted 670 entries.

Judged by internationally acclaimed artist and former winner Guan Wei, the winning work was announced at the awards ceremony at Mosman Art Gallery.

The exhibition was opened by the NSW Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Don Harwin. “The Mosman Art Prize never fails to impress and I’m delighted our Government has been able to continue our long standing support for the Mosman Art Gallery. This award has been synonymous with excellence in visual arts since 1947 and I congratulate all winners and finalists recognised this year,” the Minister said.

Kelleher’s painting now enters the celebrated Mosman Art Collection, a valuable and historic collection of modern and contemporary paintings that survey Australian art practice since the Prize first started 72 years ago. Previous winners include Margaret Olley, Guy Warren, Grace Cossington Smith, Weaver Hawkins, Nancy Borlase, Lloyd Rees, Elisabeth Cummings, Adam Cullen, Michael Zavros and Natasha Walsh.

The winning work portrays a series of intricate depictions of tiny figures, Australian wildlife and farm animals, snippets of the Australian bush and farm life, and paintbrushes and other curious objects superimposed over an Australian $100 banknote. Commenting on his painting Kelleher said: “Australia is under construction, socially, economically and environmentally. The windmill has gone and balloons are not far behind. We are riding a wave of discontent but no longer riding the sheep’s back…To the Chinese the rooster means high fidelity and honesty which to me is also on its way out. “The party is over”. Where do we go from here?”.

In addition to the main $50,000 Mosman Art Prize, other awards presented to entrants were the Margaret Olley Commendation Award to Karlee Rawkins, the Allan Gamble Award to Zengping Lai, and the Guy Warren Emerging Artists’ Award to Lachlan Gromek.

The 2019 Mosman Art Prize exhibition features 88 paintings chosen as finalists from this year’s entries and is on show at Mosman Art Gallery until 27 October as part of the 2019 Festival of Mosman. Public programs including an artist talk, tours and workshops will accompany the exhibition. Visitors can also vote for the Viewers’ Choice Award to be announced prior to closing.

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