The Committee for the Mandorla Centre for Inner Peace is delighted to announce the much anticipated theme and venue for the 2022 Mandorla Art Award, Australia’s most significant thematic Christian art prize, held in Perth every two years.
The Award has attracted some of the country’s finest artists since its 1985 inception, including John Coburn (winner
1996); Brian McKay (winner 1986, 2002); and Julie Dowling (winner 2000) who was named the most collectible artist in
Australia shortly after her win.
The Mandorla Art Award offers artists and the public a continuation of the very beginnings of Western art – to give visual voice to Christian religious writing. A scriptural thematic approach is unique among Australian religious art prizes, and invites artists to think laterally and with sensitivity by interpreting the theme in two or three-dimensional works.
Each award sees around forty works selected as finalists – artworks that challenge viewers to embrace diversity and to view the world through different perspectives and sensibilities. The major acquisitive prize of $25 000 is sponsored by St John of God Health Care, and two non-acquisitive $5 000 Highly Commended Prizes are sponsored by the Catholic and Anglican Dioceses of Perth. The Patricia Toohey Painting Prize also offers a non-acquisitive prize of $5 000, and the $2 000 People’s Choice Award is sponsored by The Benedictine Community of Holy Trinity Abbey.
The venue for the 2022 Award is Holmes à Court Gallery in West Perth, and the theme is: Metamorphosis – a profound or radical change. Reference: “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)
Angela McCarthy, Chairperson of the Mandorla Art Award says in our pandemic world people have been forced to change their behaviour, work habits, eating habits, socialising rituals, and many other aspects of life.
“The theme offers artists many ways to interpret our contemporary world, for instance, artists may choose to depict how environmental changes affect oceans, land and humankind. Artists can help us to understand the depth of all these changes and open us up to new ways of seeing what is possible, what is abhorrent, what is virtuous, what is needed,” she said.
Curator Lyn DiCiero says the Award theme opens a treasure trove of ideas for artists whether they have religious beliefs or not. “There are multiple layers in the theme for artists to explore, providing reflection and opening meaningful conversations for visitors to the exhibition, which will be further explored by a public program. As a former factory, the venue at Holmes à Court Gallery in West Perth is large and cavernous, so we expect the final selection of works to be more generous than in previous exhibitions.”
The Mandorla Art Award has been the vehicle for a unique partnership with New Norcia Benedictine Community and with their Art Gallery and Museum. They have retained and cared for all winning works since the Award began in 1985, and, in the process, has collected an historical record of art in Western Australia over nearly 40 years. Abbott John at New Norcia says its on-going partnership with Mandorla Art Award has developed into one of the most significant collections of religious art in the country.
“With such a vast array of wonderful works depicting varying aspects of the human search for God and the quest for meaning, exhibiting the creative works of these fine artists is not limited to our museum and art gallery. Now exhibited in lounges, dining rooms and accommodation venues right across the site, our many guests and visitors enjoy the opportunity to savour these unique works and meditate upon their meaning…and are perhaps even drawn to prayer.”
Susy Thomas, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA has written a reflection on the theme of the awards for this year. Read her piece at mandorlaart.com/theme-commentaries-2022/
The Mandorla Art Award is now open for entries at mandorlaart.com/2022-mandorla-art-award/ with entries closing 18 March 2022. The exhibition will be held at Holmes à Court Gallery, 10 Douglas St, West Perth from 21 May – 10 June 2022, before a selection of works tour to New Norcia Art Gallery, St John of God Health Care campuses and St Mary’s Cathedral in Perth.
Top image: 8200 Souls, found object, resin, LED lighting by Britt Mikkelsen, winner of the 2021 major St John of
God Health Care Prize.