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June 6, 2019

Five Ramsay Art Prize finalists on what the award means to them

Awarded every two years and worth $100,000 – the Ramsay Art Prize is a potentially life-changing event for a young artist.

  • Pictures: Supplied

When Vincent Namatjira was announced as the second person ever to win the $100,000 Ramsay Art Prize there was an unexpected, collective sigh of satisfaction let out by anyone and everyone we spoke to in Adelaide’s art scene.

Prior to knowing who the winner was, CityMag had collected responses from five of the Ramsay Art Prize finalists to print in our winter edition (OUT NOW BTW) and while each response was characterful, Vincent’s prose was particularly poignant.


Ramsay Art Prize 2019
Galleries 8, 9, 10 & 11
North Terrace, Adelaide 5000

Open from 25 May – 25 August 2019

The Ramsay Art Prize is such a significant award and an incredible bequest by one of the most generous philanthropists and its occurrence every second year will only grow in relevance and continue to draw more and more attention to Adelaide. This is a landmark exhbition – a huge and important survey – of Australian contemporary art being made by young people.

See Vincent Namatjira’s Close Contact now. See them all. It’s free!


Julia deVille
Mother is My Monarch

The AGSA has a special place in my heart. My exhibition Phantasmagoria, part of the 2014 Adelaide Biennial, was a turning point in my career as an artist. I’m over the moon to have the opportunity to show at AGSA once again, this time with my giraffe, which was 10 years in the making and marks another juncture in my practice.


Vincent Namatjira
Close Contact

I’m really proud to be acknowledged as a finalist in the Ramsay Art Prize – it’s exciting to see this recognition of artists under 40. I really wanted to push myself to make something innovative and unexpected for the Ramsay Art Prize this year, and I’m looking forward to the response from the audience.

I’m also really happy that it’s held at AGSA, because it means that my family can easily travel down to Adelaide and see my work, which they don’t actually get to do very often – they mainly just see me battling away in the studio at Iwantja Arts. I’m looking forward to showing my three daughters my painting in such an important context and showing them that even though we come from a remote community, we can have a powerful voice – that’s important to me, I want my girls to grow up believing that they can achieve anything they set their mind to.


Tarryn Gill

I feel so proud to be included in the Ramsay Art Prize because it’s a great chance for my work to be seen alongside that of my peers on a national platform.


Sophia Hewson
Viewer as Patient

I became a mother this year, so to be acknowledged for my work felt particularly meaningful.


Tom Freeman

The Ramsay Art Prize is an absurdly generous and abundant exhibition, and an amazing opportunity to be involved with. I was beyond belief to be selected for this exhibition and to be showing alongside a bunch of superstar artists. I’m excited to exhibit in a gallery that has put on some of the boldest and most interesting looking shows of the past few years.

Most of the time, as art award exhibitions come around that if I’m lucky enough to be selected for, I will go into them with a vague hope of winning, which mostly leads to disappointment! With the Ramsay Art Prize, I’m surrounded by such overwhelming pedigree I haven’t even fantasised about any possibility of a win, but am entirely pleased with just getting to show in such a great exhibition.


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