E-News Issue 4
Monday, 07 June 2021
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Image-of-artwork
Image-of-artwork

“I actually just wanted some feedback” says $10k arts prize winner

Charles Darwin University PhD candidate Lee Harrop doesn’t enter arts prize contests to win.

“I regularly enter awards and exhibitions to get some feedback on my work, and to get selected so my work can be seen by a wider audience,” Ms Harrop said.

That persistence and passion has paid off—she is the winner of the 2021 Footscray Art Prize, and the $10,000 cash award that comes with it.

Her winning work, titled “And this, too, shall pass,” was chosen from over 800 general entries and 39 shortlisted works.

The piece is a sculptural work that interrogates the mining industry using a hand-engraved core sample.

It explores the representations of mining, its connection to the wider global discourse about its environmental impact, and the present pandemic.

Prize judges observed that Ms Harrop’s work is “modest in scale and quiet in its presentation, but in this apparent simplicity, it has great power.

Judges were also impressed by the materiality of the object—solid and tactile—that speaks to a deep time.

Ms Harrop has won several awards over the years, including the City of Busselton Art Award, which was also worth $10k.

But it’s costly for Lee to enter contests, especially when shipping large, heavy, fragile pieces such as hers.

“It costs me about $200 to ship my work to the contest and another $200 to get it back,” she said.

“And for every piece that’s accepted, there are three of four that are not accepted. I never wonder if it’s worth it to enter. Just being selected to exhibit is the immediate gratification and validation of that artwork.”

Ms Harrop is effusive in her praise of the support she’s received along the way from the CDU Art Gallery, the College of Indigenous Futures Education and the Arts, and fellow artists, lecturers, and supervisors.

“We exhibit together, and we constantly collaborate—I love our small but tightknit little art community,” she said.