St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital has announced the winner of its inaugural $25,000 ANZAC Art Prize as Queensland College of Art Masters graduate Ros Paton for her work, La Colombe.
In her entry statement, Ms Paton said: “La Colombe is inspired by Picasso’s lithograph, La Colombe (The Dove), which was chosen as the emblem for the World Peace Congress in Paris in April 1949.”
Former Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce AD, CVO announced Ms Paton as the winner and opened an exhibition of 29 shortlisted works hanging in the Spring Hill, Brisbane hospital, with the winning work to take permanent pride of place at St Andrew’s.
The exhibition, which opened on April 20, runs until May 31.
More than 130 entries were received from accomplished and aspiring artists around Australia for the competition, which was judged by Dr Claire Baddeley, Senior Curator of Art at the Australian War Memorial.
The ANZAC Art Prize is a central element of St Andrew’s activities to commemorate the ANZAC centenary — the occasion is of great significance to the hospital because it was founded in memory of those who served in the World Wars.
The Prize was co-ordinated by St Andrew’s gynaecologist Dr Philip Hall, a passionate art collector and honorary curator of the hospital’s art collection.
Dr Hall said the competition’s theme of “Healing after Conflict” was central to the mission of St Andrew’s which was established almost 60 years ago as a living war memorial.
“War and its impact on individuals, families and communities has always been a rich, yet challenging subject for the artist and a way of engaging the community in what is a hugely significant and sensitive topic,” Dr Hall said.
“The ‘Healing after Conflict’ theme was intended to signify the positives that can emerge after a period of conflict, visually depicting the theme of healing, and symbolising the place of art in a healing space.”
St Andrew’s General Manager Andrew Barron said that as a war memorial hospital, St Andrew’s honoured “those affected by war and of what it means to hold onto hope in the midst of brokenness”.
“As lives are saved with the latest in medical research and technology, and as wounds are healed with care and compassion, we are pleased to continue our unbreakable ties with the ANZAC tradition,” Mr Barron said.
Ms Paton described her winning entry as a contrast between conflict and safety.
“The bird amidst the violence of the shattered wood and damaged stonework contrasted against a calm and uplifting sky, signifies the positives that can emerge after a period of conflict through the idea of safe haven made possible by past upheaval.
“The pigeon building its nest in the midst of the devastation, embodies the healing power of a home and family that is allowed to flourish without threat, and speaks of resilience, optimism and the everyday.
“Birds have long been associated with the concepts of peace, freedom, the future and renewed life, and across many societies and religions, reflecting a kinship with the natural world that pervades and transcends linguistics regardless of culture.
“Now, in our contemporary society, the symbol of the dove is universal as a metaphor for pacifism, while the type of damage sustained by modern warfare is also almost without exception, globally familiar and recognisable,” she says.
Ms Paton, who has a Master of Art from the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, is a well-established Brisbane artist who has exhibited extensively across Australia for more than 30 years.
The ANZAC Art Prize exhibition runs at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital in Spring Hill until May 31.