Show Your WEST-SIDE Art Prize and Exhibition is back to celebrate local creatives


    By LaDY MoHaWK

    As a Footscray artist known as LaDY MoHaWK, I am excited to announce the upcoming Show Your WEST-SIDE Art Prize and Exhibition 2024. This free public art exhibition offers a unique opportunity for local artists to showcase their talents. The theme for this year’s exhibition is ‘Westside Stories,’ inviting artists to explore and depict the diverse experiences, stories, and landscapes found within the west of Melbourne.

    The aim of this not-for-profit event is to showcase as many local creatives as possible. Unlike most other art exhibitions and prizes, the entry fee is free, no commission is taken on art sales, and it is not an acquisitive art prize. This event is a way to celebrate and give back to the local ‘westie’ art community. I wanted as many artists of all ages to showcase their work in this fabulous exhibition, right in the heart of Footscray. To make the exhibition even more inclusive I have opened it up to all creatives who live, work or study in the western suburbs, including children. 

    It’s important that children also feel they have a space where they too can participate and contribute to the culture of a community. Last year, well over 100 children participated, and their work was so beautiful and uplifting. The addition of children, amongst professional and emerging adult works, really helps enrich the experience and make it a community event. There will be twelve prizes, including four student prizes, totalling $5,349. 

    The opening night on August 2 promises to be an exciting celebration if last year’s opening night is anything to go by. It was wall-to-wall with more than 400 attendees and incredible artworks, from graffiti art to sculptures, paintings, photos, prints, and textiles. The response was overwhelming, with more than 210 works exhibited. This year I have expanded the artworks to include more diverse art forms such as audio-visual and performance art, as a way to be more inclusive to our creative community.

    Show Your WEST-SIDE is different from other art exhibitions in that it’s personal, warm, inclusive, and truly for the artist, as well as the community. The event encourages collaboration between local artists, nurturing the arts scene in the western suburbs. Our slogan, ‘Art for the People, by the People’, perfectly embodies the spirit of this exhibition. None more so than the youth and first-timers who faced the fear of publicly hanging their art for the world to see. 

    Art fosters a vibrant community and supports creative individuals. We need more opportunities like Show Your WEST-SIDE to enrich our neighbourhoods, attract like-minded people, and build a cultural heart. Unfortunately this is likely to be the last Show Your WEST-SIDE in its current iteration. Affordable gallery spaces are scarce in the City of Maribyrnong, and the Footscray Connectivity Centre was generously on loan to us, however access to this centre has ended. However, I hope to continue creating more opportunities for artists and the community because we are better together, with more creative opportunities enriching our lives. 

    I am grateful to everyone involved from sponsors and judges to the artists and volunteers. The prizes are generously sponsored by local businesses, including Cheaper Buy Miles, Community Bank Seddon, West Art Supplies, JAS Stephens Real Estate, Aa is for Art, The Art Room, Littlefoot Bar, Nan’s Bakehouse, The Corner Studio, Little Art Big Art, and Samantha Meredith (Australian Greens).

    This event is generously supported by the City of Maribyrnong. 
    Show Your WEST SIDE opens on August 2nd to the 30th at the Footscray Connectivity Centre.
    Visit or follow Instagram @Lady.Mohawk

    About LaDY MoHaWK (Sally Walshe)

    Lady Mohawk is a community-minded local Footscray artist and events producer, working in linoprinting, painting, and performance art. With over 15 years of experience, she regularly runs creative workshops and events for adults and children. Her art is featured in many local businesses, including Pie Thief, Hail Lilith Bar, Brother Nancy, and Nan’s Bakehouse. 

    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

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