All four Queensland finalists in this year’s Churchie Prize are students and alumni from the Queensland College of Art.
The prestigious national art award recognises emerging artists and is now in its 30th year.
Queensland College of Art Director Professor Derrick Cherrie said the strong showing illustrated the breadth of talent at the QCA.
“We are thrilled that so many of our students and alumni have been recognised by the Churchie Prize panel,” he said.
“This is a launch pad for young artists and an important showcase for their work.”
Bachelor of Photography graduate Christine Ko secured a spot in the finals with her innovative mixed media installation, Model Home.
The PhD candidate used motorised vertical blinds, mirror tint film and video projections to create a stunning installation that explores the concept of home and identity.
Christine said she was excited to make it to the finals of the Churchie Prize.
“It’s amazing to be recognised and have a platform to get my work out there,” she said.
“It has validated my choice to study art, which was never something I thought I could do.
“I think the fact that all of the Queensland finalists are from the QCA demonstrates the strong community of artists here – we all bounce ideas off each other and encourage each other’s work.”
Fellow Bachelor of Photography graduate Louis Lim received recognition for his intensely personal work, An opened letter.
The concertina-style artist book documents his attempts to rebuild his troubled relationship with his father.
“It’s my most personal project to date,” he said.
“I was looking at a broken relationship and trying to heal it through my work.”
Since graduating from the QCA, Louis has specialised in portraiture. The projects closest to his heart include an exhibition at the State Library of Queensland that captured people affected by war and a series of portraits for the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital’s Donate Life campaign.
“I like working with people and hearing their stories, and using my work to tackle serious issues,” he said.
Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art student Kim Ah Sam caught the eye of the selection panel with her drypoint etching, Landscape Through My Eyes.
The mature-age student said her studies at QCA had fundamentally changed her artistic practice.
“I have always done traditional dot painting, and I came here to explore that further, but I’ve really enjoyed embracing new techniques and finding new ways to tell my story.
“I’ve fallen in love with print making, and these works tells the story of my journey back to country.
“We have a very emotional and spiritual connection to the land, and that is a big part of the CAIA experience.”
Bachelor of Fine Art student Merete Megarrity created a unique sculpture, Species on the Move, made from found organic ‘objects’, wire and coral.
The work was a response to her concerns about climate change.
“Climate change is going to cause fundamental changes to ecosystems around the world,” she said.
“The work itself is very fragile physically and that reflects the fragility of our planet.”
Merete was an art historian, but decided to pursue studies in sculpture and fine art at the QCA.
“I think as an artist it is good to have some life experience, and my studies at the QCA have helped me channel that experience into my work,” she said.
“It is so encouraging to be one of the finalists for the Churchie prize – I feel privileged to be part of it.”
The 2017 pre-selection panel consisted of QUT Art Museum Curator Kevin Wilson, QAGOMA Assistant Curator of International Art Abigail Bernal and Churchie Head of Art Vicky Leighton.
“Artists are continuing to provoke by challenging perceptions of what is contemporary, and by defining new realities,” said Ms Leighton.
“The Churchie provides insight into emerging trends and is an important element in the establishment of new ideas”.
The 2017 prize winners will be determined by guest judges Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh, Executive Directors at the Institute of Modern Art (IMA), Brisbane.
The $15,000 major prize and three commendations will be announced at the official opening of the exhibition on Saturday 11 November. The exhibition will run until 17 December and feature artworks from each of the 30 finalists.