Australia’s best artists shortlisted for inaugural Footscray Art Prize

Just over 140 works from across Australia have been shortlisted for the inaugural Footscray Art Prize from more than 800 entries.
The Prize is a unique collaboration between Victoria University, Maribyrnong City Council, Footscray Community Arts Centre and the Rotary Club of Footscray with prize money totalling $17,500.

In addition to the Main Prize, there are three other categories; the Street Art Prize sponsored by Cheaper Buy Miles, the Tertiary Art Prize sponsored by Footscray Plaza, and the Young Artists Prizes for entrants 13-17 years and 12 years and under sponsored by the Rotary Club of Footscray.

The judging panel comprises some of Australia’s premier artists and gallery curators: Jason Smith, Director of Geelong Gallery; Beverly Knight, Executive Director Alcaston Gallery; internationally acclaimed Australian artist Reko Rennie; and Richard Ennis, Curator of the Incinerator Gallery in Moonee Ponds.

The panel conducted a blind shortlisting to select the works spanning photography, video, paintings, sculpture and street art. In addition, creative producer Simon Spain will judge the Young Artists Prizes.

Judge Jason Smith said the panel were moved and inspired by the range of work submitted.

“The sheer volume, diversity and exceptional merit of artists’ submissions made the shortlisting process a challenging one, some of the works generated lively discussion! We were really struck by the artists’ images of, and connections to, community and their locality.

“There is a strong representation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, and as we did not have to consider any particular theme, each work had to speak for itself. 

“We were moved and inspired by many artists whose work strongly reflects identity and social diversity; the relentless change of our urban environment; celebration but loss of familiar places in the name of progress and expansion; and the sheer intensity of human experience in a volatile world. As judges we looked for works that were rich in ideas and technically excellent in execution.”

Entrants are as diverse as they are talented; including renowned Australian photographer Jeremy Blincoe, nationally accredited taxidermy artist Julia DeVille and Robert Fielding, an award-winning multidisciplinary artist working in Mimili, a remote Aboriginal community in South Australia.

New comer Mohsen Meysami’s work draws on his early life experiences in the Iraq-Iran war through intricate bead work, and local artist Jody Haines invites viewers to move past their own personal prejudices and meet the ‘other’ face to face.

The winners will be announced on 25 May at the opening of the exhibition showcase of the shortlisted artists.

The exhibition will be held at three locations throughout the local area: Footscray Community Arts Centre 26 May – 24 June (Main Prize), VU at MetroWest 26 May – 17 June (Tertiary Prize and Young Artists), and various street locations in central Footscray (Street Art Prize).  

The Footscray Art Prize has a total value of $17,500 - categories include the Main Prize ($10,000), the Street Art Prize ($5,000), Tertiary Art Prize ($1,500), and Young Artists Prizes for entrants 13-18 years ($500) and 12 years and under ($500).

For shorlisted works see