Gallery receives record entries for art prize in anniversary year – Mirage News

Artists have been doing it tough during COVID-19, but their passion and creativity hasn’t stopped, with the Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2020 receiving a record 711 entries.

Community Portfolio Councillor Rick Baberowski said it was very heart-warming that the entries had come from far and wide, including some of Australia’s best contemporary and emerging artists.

“In the gallery’s 20th anniversary year, and the 15th year of the Sunshine Coast Art Prize, I’m really pleased for the gallery team and rapt by the number of entries we’ve received,” Cr Baberowski said.

“We are committed to supporting artists and the arts industry, which is why we made entry free this year and, together with our generous partners, we’re offering more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.

“We have a medley of really talented artists in this year’s larger field of entries, so selecting 40 finalists for the art prize exhibition will be an extra challenging, but enjoyable task, especially as the winning work will be acquired into the Sunshine Coast Art Collection.

“I hope the finalists will particularly enjoy being a part of the Sunshine Coast Art Prize in this special anniversary year.”

Finalists will be announced in August and will be showcased in an exhibition at Caloundra Regional Gallery and online from Friday, October 16 to Sunday, December 6.

High profile and experienced gallery director Tracy Cooper-Lavery will judge the Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2020. Winners will be announced at the end of the exhibition.

Prize details

  • Major prize: an acquisitive prize of $25,000 cash sponsored by Argon Law and Sunshine Coast Council
  • Highly Commended: non-acquisitive prize of $5000 sponsored by the De Deyne family
  • People’s Choice: non-acquisitive prize of $2500 sponsored by Caloundra Chamber of Commerce
  • Sunshine Coast Art Prize Residency: sponsored by Caloundra Regional Gallery and Montville Country Cabins.

Artwork transportation costs have been covered thanks to IAS Fine Art Logistics and Caloundra Regional Gallery.

The previous highest Sunshine Coast Art Prize entry record was 625 in 2016.

For more details visit the gallery website –

Image: Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2019 judge Alison Kubler with winning work TALISKA by artist Diena Georgetti. Photo ben vos productions.

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Altered states of consciousness in Mel O’Callaghan’s ‘Centre of the Centre’

The current global pandemic has forced us to interrogate and transform many aspects of our daily lives that once seemed beyond question. The most significant philosophical and ethical lesson for a post-COVID world, however, is undoubtedly the extent to which the coronavirus has revealed just how closely the fate of the individual and the collective are intertwined. In our current issue, Paris-based curator and writer Anabelle Lacroix identifies this relationship between self and other as a central component of Mel O’Callaghan’s solo exhibition ‘Centre of the Centre’, on show at UQ Art Museum, Brisbane (until 16 January 2021 before continuing its Australian tour through Museums & Galleries of New South Wales): ‘Dealing with the origins of life and altered states of consciousness, O’Callaghan’s exhibition places experience at the core of the work’, exploring concepts of ‘movement, experience and duration … as well as that of ambience [as] a position that comes not from but through a field of multiple references’.

It is from this ambience, Lacroix explains, ‘a flattening of hierarchies … in which each part is equally important’, that the radical potential of the exhibition emerges. ‘In an age where our very thoughts and emotions have been invaded by the commodifying logic of capitalism, ideas of altered states of consciousness … have become political’, and the ambient fusion of experiences in O’Callaghan’s exhibition offers a transgressive template for a worldview ‘that celebrates all forms of life, known and unknown, of the ones close to us and those on the edge of consciousness’.

Isolated in our homes and barred from travelling beyond our immediate surroundings, our present state is undoubtedly one with the potential to profoundly alter our consciousness of the world, our neighbours and ourselves. As Lacroix suggests, we are faced with a choice: do we fall back now on our old habits of conspicuous consumption, taking what comfort we can in the material possessions with which we surround ourselves? Or should we use this as an opportunity to explore new modes of being together, and new forms of communication?

In Centre of the Centre (2019), a 20-minute video created over two years in collaboration with Daniel Fornari of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts, and music psychotherapist Sabine Rittner of the University Hospital of Heidelberg in Germany, among others, O’Callaghan plumbs the depths of the Pacific Ocean, including the life cycle of the coco worm (Protula magnifica). Projected across the gallery wall, this tiny inhabitant of the Verde Island Passage in the Philippines, the ‘centre of the centre of all marine biodiversity’, assumes spectacular proportions, ‘glowing, vibrating and radiating with diffracted light [that] is truly hypnotic’. This meeting of microcosm and macrocosm is further reinforced by performances of ‘breath-induced trance’ that take place within the adjacent exhibition space, ‘the shaking movement of the performers, their endurance and the increased intensity of breath [offering] a reminder of our own physical limits, as well as invoking the creation of life’.

The message of O’Callaghan’s exhibition, as of the current global pandemic, seems clear: we are all connected, whether we like it or not. From our homes to our neighbourhoods, cities, countries, regions, even our shared species and global ecosystem, we can either continue on the destructive path we have set for ourselves or, following O’Callaghan’s example, we can seek an altered state that puts the origins of life in a broader philosophical perspective.

Dr Alex Burchmore, Publication Manager