Finalists announced for $25k art prize in honour of Robert Kennedy

Published by: Kennedy Arts Foundation | 24-Aug-2018
More than 50 finalists for the $25,000 Kennedy Prize have been announced today and will feature in an exhibition at the Royal South Australian Society of the Arts at the State Library from September 8-23.
Now in its fifth year, the Kennedy Prize is a national visual art competition aiming to inspire artists to create works of excellence, cultural relevance, commercial value and beauty.

The shortlisted entries will be on display during the Kennedy Prize Exhibition, which will be presented without the supervision of its founder, Robert Kennedy, for the first time.

Mr Kennedy passed away in March 2018 after achieving great success as a chartered accountant and director or chairman of eight ASX-listed companies. He was the subject of various paintings and was an artist in his own right after his wife gifted him with art lessons back in 1998.

Kennedy Prize Co-ordinator Mark Kennedy, who is one of Mr Kennedy's five children, said the 2018 Prize received a record number of entries and more than double the number received last year.

Mark Kennedy said the competition's theme "“ beauty' "“ was inspired by his late paternal grandmother, who always found beauty in everyday life.

"She taught my father that with so much negativity and anger in the world, people often miss the beauty all around them, so in a way it's an homage to her," he said.

"Beauty can be found everywhere, and it's the artist's job to capture and highlight that in their work. It could also be the antithesis of beauty, which many finalists have explored in previous years.

"It's such a subjective thing, beauty, so artwork under this theme starts a conversation that ends with people seeing a beauty they may have missed before. That's what I find truly inspiring about the Kennedy Prize "“ all of these artists broaden the landscape on what we consider to be beautiful."

The Prize, offered by the Kennedy Arts Foundation, is based and exhibited in Adelaide but is open to Australian artists nationwide. This year's winner will be revealed during the private 2018 Kennedy Prize Exhibition Launch event on Friday, September 7.

Kennedy Arts Foundation Director Shane Kennedy, another of Mr Kennedy's sons, said the Foundation aimed to help artists meet their full potential.

"My father started the Kennedy Arts Foundation in honour of his migrant parents and the sacrifices they made to make a better life for him. I'm glad that I can now keep his legacy alive in honour of him and my grandparents, too," he said.

"The Prize is an opportunity for Australian artists to show and sell their art to the public, and it really offers much-needed support to the arts community."

Voting for a People's Choice Award will be conducted during the exhibition, while the Foundation's Choice will showcase an exciting array of emerging and established Australian artistic talent. Both are open to the general public from September 8-23. Entry is free.

The overall winner will receive $25,000 and their work will be acquired by the Foundation to help fund the prize money for the following year. For more information and to view the list of finalists, please visit

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