Patricia Piccinini awarded 2014 Melbourne Art Foundation Award for the Visual Arts

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by anonymous on Friday 18 July 2014.

Patricia Piccinini awarded 2014 Melbourne Art Foundation Award for the Visual Arts  image

Melbourne, Australia: Artist Patricia Piccinini and philanthropists Peter and Joan Clemenger have been honoured by the 2014 Melbourne Art Foundation Awards for the Visual Arts, at a gala dinner hosted at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) last night.

Piccinini was awarded the esteemed Melbourne Art Foundation Artist Award in recognition of her outstanding achievement as an Australian artist for a comprehensive body of work. The Visionary Award was presented to Peter Clemenger, Executive Chairman of prominent Australian creative agency Clemenger BBDO, and his wife Joan Clemenger, for their outstanding contribution to arts philanthropy and commitment to progressing the status of contemporary Australian art.

More than 200 guests attended the awards dinner at ACCA where Director Juliana Engberg delivered the keynote speech. The award winners each received a sterling silver wall sculpture by Victorian artist Robert Bridgewater, titled Waking Child, 2007 to mark their prize. The sculpture, organic in structure, is comprised of sharp textural rays, reminiscent of an earthly creation.

Previous recipients of the Artist Award include Fiona Hall (2011), John Mawurndjul (2009), Peter Booth (2007) and James Gleeson AO (2005). The Visionary Award has previously been awarded to Marc Beson AO & Eva Besen AO (2011), Ann Lewis AO (2009), Gordon Darling AC, CMG and Marilyn Darling AC (2007) and James Mollison AO (2005).

Anna Pappas, Chairman of the Board, Melbourne Art Foundation, said: “Established in 2005, our biennial National Awards for the Visual Arts play a vital role in the advancement of Australia’s visual arts by recognising and promoting distinction and vision in this field. Patricia Piccinini was a unanimous decision by the judging panel this year.”

Piccinini moved from Sierra Leone to Australia in 1972 where she studied painting at the Victorian College of the Arts before developing a practice that aims to shift the way that people look at the world around them. Since the early 1990’s Piccinini’s art has investigated the intersection between scientific progress and ethical questions, playing with concepts of what is “natural” in an age of digital technology, bioengineering and human reproduction. In 2003 Piccinini presented We Are Family at the Australian pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale. Her work was also included in the 13th Biennale of Sydney in 2002.

Commenting on the Visionary Award, Anna Pappas said: “This award honours two remarkable Australian benefactors of both the visual arts and performing arts. Peter and Joan Clemenger have shown tireless dedication and attentiveness in their support for Australian artists and artistic diversity, both nationally and beyond.”

From 1991-2009 Peter and Joan Clemenger enabled the National Gallery of Victoria to establish the Clemenger Contemporary Art Award, a triennial exhibition and award that celebrated the ongoing achievement of some of Australia’s most distinguished contemporary artists. With a passion to continuously reinvigorate Melbourne, in 2012 Peter Clemenger introduced the idea of an “open studio” event in the suburbs of Daylesford and Hepburn, enabling 30 artists in the area to open their studios and share individual creative processes over a four-week period. The Clemengers have also shown unwavering support for numerous fashion, food and lifestyle events and festivals over the years.