Craft + Design Canberra members win all four prizes of ACT Historic Places Art Prize

Craft + Design Canberra are proud supporters of the ACT Historic Places Art Prize. The 2022-23 ACT Historic Places Art Prize aims to support ACT and regional artists, to exhibit their works, and to encourage a deeper appreciation of Canberra’s cultural and natural heritage through artistic engagements with our cultural places.  

The ACT Historic Places Art Prize is a regional, non-acquisitive competition and exhibition open to works in any medium by artists aged 18 years and over who are a resident of the ACT or the surrounding Canberra region (including Bega, Eurobodalla, Hilltops, Goulburn Mulwaree, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Snowy Monaro, Upper Lachlan and Yass Valley LGAs). 

A huge congratulations to Craft + Design Canberra members who were all winners announced by Minister for the Arts Tara Cheyne on Saturday 29 July:

1st prize– Robyn Campbell | DWELLING PLACE

‘Dwelling Place’ grew from historical research and observations of the Victorian interior of Lanyon Homestead, surrounding paddocks, river, and distant landscape.Its supporting structure of a burnt, twisted stand suggests impermanence and the indigenous population’s firestick practices, which maintained the grasslands before European occupation.The glass cloche is a protective device. In ‘Dwelling Place’ it represents preservation, but also containment. The wire contains the history of European settlement in its manufacture, the bending and unbending for different uses over time, and the suggestion of fencing and the constraint imposed on the indigenous population and the landscape by colonial settlement. The line of wire also expresses the Brindabellas surrounding Lanyon.Stone is solid and permanent. Here the central “stone” represents something precious; its transparency and reflection in the black base also suggest impermanence. This is the challenge for curation and conservation: how to present and preserve objects and stories through time.

2nd prize – Jessika Spencer | OCHRE

Upon reflecting on Canberra, known to First Nations people as Kamberri, Thawra, and the country that the Lanyon Homestead is situated on, my mind went to the sacred sites that are both on and around it. Quietly hidden so that most aren’t aware, but are watched over by Elders and Traditional Owners. Some are heritage listed, some aren’t. All are as important as each other. The spaces that emus roam freely, leaving feathers behind in their wake. The clear quartz that is scattered throughout, and feels like small pieces of magic adorning the ground. The white ochre that grows thick in pigment, that was, and is still used in ceremony. With permission, I have embellished this woven wall hanging with emu feathers and plant fibres. I have used purchased clear quartz crystals, meant to mimic the ones found out on country. The white fibres representing the pure ochre. It all ties together into one.

3rd Prize - Tuggeranong Arts Centre Prize – Lynne Flemons | HOMAGE

Homage' is a tribute to Sidney Nolan and The Nolan Collection which was once housed in the Lanyon Homestead. Sidney Nolan's most identifiable motif, that of the Kelly armour, is evident. Nolan was drawn to the landscape around Lanyon and wanted his work to be shown here. The references to the pastoral industry and the scar tree speak to the layered history of land use practices here, both European and First Nations.

Craft + Design Canberra Prize – Sue Peachey | ELIZABETH’S HANDKERCHIEF WITH MOTH

Elizabeth Morton was a convict who lived at Lanyon in 1836 working as unpaid domestic help. Australia is regarded by many as an egalitarian society but its settler origins were hierarchical. A delicate linen handkerchief would only come into the hands of a female convict while working in the laundry. The placement of the artwork within the homestead, with Elizabeth’s embroidered initials, is a defiant act and a protest against inequality which is again prevalent. Since 2009 the top 10% of Australians received 93% of real per adult economic growth while the remaining 90% received just 7%.*Indigenous people, flora and fauna were displaced at Lanyon with the arrival of colonial methods of land management. A native moth sitting on the fabric notes the continuing decline of migratory Bogong moths and numerous other Indigenous species across Australia as a result of our industrialised capitalistic society. These intersections of landowner/convict and Indigenous/colonial were prominent at the time of early settlement at Lanyon Homestead and continue to have echoes today.*The Australian Institute, April 11, 2023.

The winners and finalists art works are on display at Lanyon Homestead until 15 October 2023.  Book a tour of the Homestead here.

Images by 5 Foot Photography