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Poetic Storyboard from acclaimed artist Jumaadi wins 2017 Mosman Art Prize

BY green tea | 10-Oct-2017
Sydney based Indonesian Artist Jumaadi wins coveted Mosman Art Prize in 70th Anniversary year. #mosmanartprize #winners #jumaadi #mosmanart
Australia's most recognised and prestigious local government art award has been won by Sydney based, Indonesian born artist Jumaadi for 'Some kind of record', 2016, a 24 x panel acrylic on board work that explores the artist’s cultural roots while displaying a refreshingly honest and open approach to storytelling.

Jumaadi was awarded the $50,000 acquisitive major prize by 2017 guest Judge Kirsten Paisley, Deputy Director, National Gallery of Australia. Ms Paisley said "This work stood out amongst the 758 entries for being unique in subject and construction. Painted on old Masonite filing dividers the studies allude to a system of recording, with the letter of the filing dividers leaving us to wonder if what at first seemed to be a record of weather recorded over a period of days, might have a greater meaning. Are these studies about people? Do they stand for feelings or moods or for places one has been? In this way Jumaadi’s work is gentle and poetic, much like a storyboard which threads together disparate moments of reflection, operating as a meditation on the meeting point of earth and sky, animated by the weather and its associated evocative moods."

Jumaadi revealed his work was inspired by study trips between regional New South Wales, his home studio in Sydney’s Mosman and regular excursions to Java. "I found these boards at a garage sale in Cowra (NSW) during a residency programme in mid 2013. The focus of my residency was to trace the history of 1,200 Indonesian political prisoners previously detained in Dutch New Guinea and taken to Cowra in 1943 by the Dutch. They were arrested in the late 1920s after political agitation against the colonial government in the Dutch East Indies. As stated in the book of Jan Lingard, some prisoners made it home after the war, some remained in Australia, and some died as soon as they arrived in Cowra. This residency followed my encounter with some poetry written by the prisoners. The descriptions of the landscape in their poetry about the hills, the mist and the wind, is actually one of the earliest portrayals I have encountered of Indonesians responding to the Australian landscape, especially in NSW.

Since my residency in Cowra, the boards have been in my custody. There has been a long conversation between these objects and myself about what art I was going to make with them. We spent a lot of time together in various studios - Cowra, Sydney, Java and other places. Now, each painting (board) contains notes, sketches, unfinished pictures, lines of poetry, self-doubt, discovery and corrections of mark and statement. This work, with layering and hybrid images, reveals the long process of making, of constructing a composition for some kind of monumental but rather personalised narrative."

The Mosman Art Prize was established in 1947 when there were very few opportunities for artists to exhibit their work or even avenues to come together and form connections. The Prize was very quickly adopted and accepted amongst the artist community as one of a quartet of major art prizes along with the Archibald, Wynne and the Sulman.

Since then the Mosman Art Prize has grown in stature over 70 years to become an acquisitive art prize of national significance with a collection which reads like a who's who of Australian art including: Margaret Olley, Guy Warren, Grace Cossington Smith, Frank Hinder, Weaver Hawkins, Nancy Borlase, Lloyd Rees, John Caldwell, Margo Lewers, Earle Backen, Ken Reinhard, Fan Dongwang, Elisabeth Cummings, Janet Dawson, Cressida Campbell, John Bartley, Jenny Sages, Elisabeth Cummings, Tim Johnson, Lucy Culliton, Guan Wei, Noel McKenna, Adam Cullen, Tom Carment, James Powditch, Jasper Knight, Craig Waddell, Kerrie Lester, David Fairbairn, Rachel Ellis, Michael Muir and Alan Jones. Michael Zavros won the prize in 2016.

A new Commendation Prize of $10,000, The Margaret Olley Award, was offered this year to honour the late great Australian painter who was the inaugural winner of the Mosman Art Prize in 1947. Donated by The Margaret Olley Trust, this prize has awarded to Aboriginal artist Helen McCarthy Tyalmuty (Batjamal), from Bulgul, NT.

Further awards included: The Allan Gamble Memorial Award (for Built Environment) $3,000 to Glenn Locklee (Sydney) and the Fourth Village Providore Emerging Artist Award, won by Clara Adolphs (Sydney).

The free exhibition of 88 finalist works runs until Sunday 29 October 2017. The Mosman Art Society Viewer’s Choice Award $1,000 will be announced prior to exhibition closing. Public Program of artist & curator talks accompany this exhibition.