On making the National Capital Art Prize short-list

At times I have had doubts about the value of entering high-profile art awards.  During 2022 I spent a lot of time in Victoria with family away from my studio and was therefore limited in what new works I was able to make. I focussed on entering work I had already made in a number of national prizes where I thought the work fitted the theme and was executed in the correct media.  It was a discouraging experience: I calculated that I spent about $1,000 entering these competitions. The average entry fee is around for 40 to $50.  

HOWEVER, whether it was perseverance, luck or improved skill I’m not sure but in June a piece of my work was selected for the National.Capital.Art Prize.  Cabinet of Wonders, an openable casket constructed by me from re-purposed and salvaged timber and textiles, was selected as a finalist in the  Sustainability Category. Apart from the wood and cloth, it included foraged and collected natural objects, mainly seeds and had a strong message about living sustainably on planet Earth.  I was surprised when I got the acceptance letter because it was an entry I had done quite quickly on the spur-of-the-moment and I hadn’t really put in all the kinds of theoretical rationale that I normally would. I guess there are two learnings from this:

So take heart, my fellow artists! Keep working and putting your work forward. Zela

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Susan Zela Bissett (Zela) is an educator, writer and artist with a lifetime involvement in environmental education and advocacy. Zela was born on Butchulla Country in Maryborough and has worked as an artist, educator, permaculture gardener, studio potter and consultant. She is passionate about sustainable lifestyles, maintaining habitat for wildlife and about unleashing the creativity in all of us.

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