The beauty and fragility of our natural world

Media release: Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The National Archives in Canberra is again hosting the top entries in the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize™, the only venue outside Adelaide to do so.

The prize, organised by the South Australian Museum, is Australia's richest natural history art competition with a prize pool of $114,500. Each year, the entries collectively, reflect and celebrate the beauty and fragility of nature.

'We feel very privileged to host this exhibition and we value our ongoing collaboration with the South Australian Museum,' said David Fricker, Director-General of the National Archives.

'We are particularly pleased that we have the top entries here during Floriade when so many locals and visitors have a keen awareness of the beauty of our natural world.'

The exhibition opens on 21 September and features top entries in the categories of paintings, works on paper, sculpture and objects. It includes the overall winning entry, a painting Anatye (Bush Potato) by Indigenous artist Margaret Loy Pula. The prize-winning and highly commended works from each category will be on display in Canberra.

The exhibition this year includes three special awards including the people's choice which went to an oil painting Mallee Arabesque by Scott Hartshorne. The Waterhouse Youth Art Prize was awarded to Zoe Woods for her blown glass/wheel cut work Microcosm 1. The inaugural Dr Wendy Wickes Memoriam Prize – for excellence in science communication in art – went to Jellyfish made of recycled plastics and metal by Scott Farrand.

The works of two Canberra artists are among the top artworks on display this year. Jenni Kemarre Martiniello was highly commended for her hot blown glass piece, Rushes Eel Trap in the sculpture and objects category. Sarah Carlson was the second place winner in the Waterhouse Youth Art Prize for her Correa Leaves Collar in 18ct yellow gold and copper.

In the 10 years since it was established, the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize has attracted more than 6,000 entries from artists in 29 countries.

The Waterhouse Prize honours the work of the South Australian Museum's first curator, Frederick George Waterhouse, one of the foremost naturalists of his era. He assembled a collection of insects, reptiles, birds, mammals and plants, and discovered 40 new species of fish off the South Australian coastline.

The exhibition will be on at the National Archives in Canberra from 21 September until 11 November. Entry to the exhibition is free.

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Contact information

  • Elizabeth Masters (Media Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3957 m 0427 853 664 e
  • Tara Nichols (Marketing Officer)
    t (02) 6212 3609 m 0430 026 612 e
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