Celebrating nature through art

Media release: Friday, 23 September 2011

The National Archives in Canberra is again hosting the top entries in the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize™, with the exhibition launched last night by Prue Acton OBE, fashion designer, artist and environmental activist. The Archives is the only venue outside Adelaide to host the leading art from the competition.

Local artists again feature in this year's selection of winning and highly commended works which, collectively, reflect both the intricate detail and the grandeur of nature. Canberra-based Vanessa Barbay received first prize in the paintings category for her work Avian Spectre. Glass artist Erin Conron was highly commended for Net Work.

Sculpture is a highlight this year. Beautifully crafted ceramic bunnies contrast with finely detailed objects reflecting coastal plants and sea life made in pure silver. A muted colour palette dominates paintings and works on paper, with occasional splashes of colour.

The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize™ is Australia's richest natural history art competition, with a prize pool of $114,500. It offers awards in the categories of painting, works on paper, sculpture and objects. A special Youth Art Prize gives emerging artists an opportunity to showcase their talents. It was developed by the South Australian Museum to commemorate the work of the Museum's first curator, Frederick George Waterhouse, one of the foremost naturalists of his era.

The 2011 competition attracted 817 entries, from which 103 finalists were selected for display at the South Australian Museum.

The 34 prize-winning and highly commended works will be on display at the Archives in Canberra from 23 September to 13 November 2011. Entry to the exhibition is free.

Note: high resolution and web versions of the artwork images are available on request.

Contact information

  • Tara Nichols (Marketing Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3609 m 0430 026 612 e tara.nichols@naa.gov.au
  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0427 853 664 e elizabeth.masters@naa.gov.au
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