TOP SECRET: Installers have been working hard to hang and display entries for the 42nd Martin Hanson Memorial Art Awards, which are being kept under lock and key until Saturday's grand opening.
TOP SECRET: Installers have been working hard to hang and display entries for the 42nd Martin Hanson Memorial Art Awards, which are being kept under lock and key until Saturday's grand opening. Matt Taylor

Art to create conversation at annual awards

THERE'S something for art enthusiasts with different tastes at the 2017 annual Rio Tinto Martin Hanson Memorial Art Awards.

Event organisers at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum received 377 entries, an equal number of applications compared to last year.

Artworks depicted themes such as feminist commentary, indigenous conversations, environmental damage and domestic violence.

Curator Jo Duke said it was nice to see a broad range of works contributing to some important conversations in Gladstone's art community.

"There's always a conversation about the environment and our place in it,” she said.

"There's always a conversation about people.”

Organisers said this year's paintings contained a lot of abstract ideas, but also a lot of traditional flora and fauna.

"This year, we're really excited (because) we've got 38 youth artists,” Ms Duke said.

"That's a wonderful energy our youth bring.”

Gladstone Regional Gallery public programs and promotions officer Madeleine Cook was excited the gallery was able to offer $40,000 in overall prize money.

"It's quite significant for a regional art award,” she said.

Ms Cook said the art gallery was able to support Gladstone artists with the support of local businesses, a lot of whom have stayed on board for a second year.

"$15,000 for the major prize is what's getting people involved again this year,” she said.

"Even though it's a nationally based award, the placing of local makers with their state and national peers is always an interesting play,” Ms Duke said.

"It was really nice to increase in our three- dimensional works, fibre works, nice to see ceramics coming in.

"There's a lot of really exciting colours this year, we've got some really large works as well, which makes it different.”

The judging panel is made up of art makers, academics or head of collections in art institutions.



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