Northern Territory based artist Lee Harrop has been awarded the $10,000 Footscray Art Prize for her sculptural work that interrogates the mining industry using a hand-engraved core sample.

    The winning work, titled And this, too, shall pass, was selected by the judging panel – made up of NGV’s Myles Russell-Cook, VCA’s Vikki McInnes, and freelance curator Kirsty Grant – from 39 shortlisted artworks after the judges initially reviewed over 830 entries into the third iteration of the Prize.

    The judges observed that the work is “modest in scale and quiet in its presentation, but in this apparent simplicity, it has great power.” They were impressed by the materiality of the object – solid and tactile – that speaks to a deep time.

    Footscray Art Prize winner, Lee Harrop with the winning work. Photo courtesy of Lee Harrop.

    Core samples have become a regular feature in Harrop’s arts practice, influenced by her collaborations with Western Australian and Northern Territory Geological Core Libraries. The naturally occurring substances are typically mined and analysed to determine what materials lay beneath the earth’s surface.

    “Utilising text and quoting a familiar adage that reflects on the temporary nature of human existence, it resonates widely, reminding us of our connections to the past and responsibilities to the future.” – judges

    As a PhD candidate at Charles Darwin University, Harrop explores the representations of mining, its connection to the wider global discourse about its environmental impact, and the present pandemic.

    A new category, the $10,000 Local Artist Acquisition Prize, was awarded to Sunshine-based artist Simon Clark for his work Gaskin Gardens. The impact of the pandemic on our communities is a strong theme in the exhibition, and Clark’s intricately layered collage reflects on the confinement that many commission housing residents experienced during lockdown. The artwork will be acquired into Maribyrnong City Council’s art collection.

    Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC) will soon receive a new mural addition thanks to the $5,000 Street Art Prize, which was awarded to Macedon resident Emma Coulter. Her mural, currently being installed, will attempt to create a ‘window’ between the community and FCAC. The judges selected this work for the potential it has to instantly engage visitors to the area, “drawing them in with the strength of its design, the way it plays with perception, as well as it’s joyful colour”.

    Two artists – Ahmad Sabra and Scotty So – also received a residency with FCAC as part of the new Emerging Artist category.

    The Young Artists category is on display at VU at MetroWest. Photographer: Jacinta Keefe.

    Local artists Rosie Kalina and Dawn Tan selected the winners of the Young Artists Prize categories from over 160 artworks by primary and secondary school children from Melbourne’s west, which are displayed at Victoria University’s MetroWest venue.

    The biennial prize is a unique collaboration between Victoria University, Maribyrnong City Council, Footscray Community Arts Centre and the Rotary Club of Footscray. The exhibitions at Footscray Community Arts Centre and VU at MetroWest are free to attend, and on display until Saturday 5 June 2021.

    If you don’t get to the exhibitions in person, visit the website to view the online catalogue and a 360-video tour that also features artist interviews:


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