For the first time since 1897, the Wynne Prize – Australia’s oldest art award – will tour New South Wales’ regional art galleries. Between December and January, the prize will be on display at our very own Mudgee Arts Precinct.
The Wynne Prize has been presented annually by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It’s awarded to ‘the best landscape painting of Australian scenery in oils or watercolours or for the best example of figure sculpture by Australian artists’. The accolade was first presented at the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ grand opening in Sydney in 1897, making it Australia’s oldest art prize.
From three-dimensional sculptures to works by Aboriginal artists conveying significant sites and unique perspectives, the Wynne Prize showcases how we experience Australia’s landscapes.
Wynne Prize 2023 finalist,
Lucy Culliton Bibbenluke, spring
© the artist
Wynne Prize 2023 Tour
For the first time in 125 years, the Wynne Prize is set to tour a collection of regional New South Wales galleries, bringing the pieces closer to communities – many of which have been portrayed within former artworks.
The prestigious tour has already kicked off, beginning at the Bank Art Museum in Moree until November 19. Come December 1, Mudgee’s cultural scene will be taken to new heights with the Wynne Prize on our doorstep. The 2023 prize winner, alongside the finalists, will be displayed in the heart of the region at Mudgee’s Art Precinct, until January 28, 2024.
Wynne Prize 2023 finalist,
Robyn Sweaney Mullum magic
© the artist
Stop by to feast your eyes on the impressive works, feeling wondrous as you discover the perspectives and stories behind the canvas. Among them, look out for the 2023 winner, ‘Imma’ by first-time Wynne Prize finalist, Zaachariacha Fielding. His painting portrays the sounds of Mimili, a small community in the eastern part of the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands while leaning into his childhood experiences there.
While discussing his piece, Zaachariaha says, “The atmosphere of this work is full of sound, movement and teaching. All of the communities are coming together, sharing their storylines. However, this platform is only for children. This is for the babies and it’s about them being taught by the masters, their Elders”.
Mudgee Arts Precinct – the Region’s Cultural Hub
November 2021 saw a new addition to Mudgee’s town centre; a state-of-the-art gallery that would soon become the region's cultural hub. It goes by the name of Mudgee Arts Precinct (MAP), and since its grand unveiling, we’ve seen a variety of exhibitions offering new and emerging national and international artists a platform to showcase their works.
The $8.1 million gallery is funded by the Mid-Western Regional Council, Create NSW and the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund. Together, with the community, local creatives and art organisations, the collective aims to fulfil the mission statement, “To enrich and engage the community through creative and cultural experiences that provide inspiration and delight, whilst expressing the many diverse stories and voices of our region; past, present and future”.
The building adjoins Mudgee Region Tourism’s award-winning information centre on Market Street. Here, visitors can drop by to discover the region’s highlights, from local produce to unique wineries and community-focused events.
Mudgee Arts Precinct has held over 10 exhibitions, from Michael Bourke: A Brief History of Mudgee to the more recent ARTEXPRESS, showcasing exceptional works by visual arts students of New South Wales.
One of the gallery’s most popular former exhibitions was the inaugural Portrait Prize and Next Gen Youth Portrait Prize, which ran from December 2022 to February 2023. The calibre of entrants was as impressive as it was diverse, from four-year-olds to the impressive Australian artist, Maddie Gibbs.
Upstairs, the historical Cudgegong Chambers building has been refurbished to make room for a vibrant and modern seminar room and community gallery space. The rooms are ready to rent and are primed for hosting everything from learning sessions to team-building sessions and creative activities.
The MAP Cultural Workshops offer a fully accessible multipurpose education, conferencing and collaborative working space available for daily or weekly hire. This facility includes a digital classroom/technical suite with recording and editing facilities, large and small workshop and co-working spaces, internal and external breakout areas, professional meeting facilities, and kitchenette, all serviced by high-speed Wi-Fi.
Mudgee Arts Precinct is also home to the newly opened Baristopher Cafe, a family-run business serving coffee, homemade cakes, small eats and lunch.
Don’t miss MAP’s Perfect Pairing
We asked Adelle Minahan from the Mudgee Arts Precinct’s Mid Western Council, what her favourite thing to do in the Mudgee Region was. Adelle recommends, “A stroll along the Mudgee Sculpture Walk is always a joy to explore. The trail weaves its way between Mudgee Arts Precinct and Lawson Park West through picturesque parkland, along the banks of the Cudgegong River and up towards Mudgee Arts Precinct.
“Every time you walk the trail it’s different, the light and sounds change depending on the weather and the time of day and this frames each of the works in a new way. A favourite sculpture is the recently installed Bird Man by Ludwig Mlcek. If you view this sculpture at a certain time of day the sunlight streams right through the sculpture’s heart”.
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