The winner of the 2021 16th annual Gallipoli Art Prize, Geoff Harvey with his work Forgotten Heroes was selected from 33 finalists and was announced on Wednesday 14 April, in the lead up to Anzac Day. The works will be on exhibition at Merrylands RSL, Sydney from 15 April to 17 May and a virtual exhibition will be available through www.gallipoliclub.com.au.
The Gallipoli Art Prize is a privately funded prize, auspiced by the Gallipoli Memorial Club in Sydney. It invites artists to respond openly to the broad themes of loyalty, respect, love of country, courage and comradeship as expressed in the Gallipoli Club’s creed.
“We believe that within the community there exists an obligation for all to preserve the special qualities of loyalty, respect, love of country, courage and comradeship which were personified by the heroes of the Gallipoli Campaign and bequeathed to all humanity as a foundation for perpetual peace and universal freedom”. The Gallipoli Memorial Club Creed.
Among the 33 finalists is ‘Weeping Soldier’ by artist Guy Warren, a previous Archibald winner (1985) who will turn 100 years old on 16 April this year. As well as being an esteemed artist and educator, Guy Warren is a WWII veteran who served in Papua New Guinea and Australia from 1941-46.
Finalist Nyulla Safi (‘F4-Sang Froid’) also served in the Australian Army, joining in the late 1980s when very few women enlisted. In 1993 she was medically discharged because of severe posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a bad back injury. She took up painting in 2019 and has painted every day since.
“There was a significant increase in entries this year and more than half the entries are from artists who haven’t entered the Prize before,” said John Robertson, President of the Gallipoli Memorial Club and one of the judges of the prize. “I am always impressed by the diversity of the works and how individual artists choose to respond to the Gallipoli Memorial Club’s Creed.”
“We are very grateful to Merrylands RSL for hosting the exhibition,” says John Robertson “Next year we will be back in our old home at The Gallipoli Club in Circular Quay in Sydney. The historic sandstone building has had extensive renovation works done to preserve its heritage and will include a permanent gallery for the Gallipoli Art Prize. Being an acquisitive prize, the Gallipoli Memorial Club has acquired a significant collection of works over the last 16 years which we are very much looking forward to being able to exhibit.”
Judging for this year’s Prize is conducted by Jane Watters, Barry Pearce, and John Robertson. Previous winners of the Gallipoli Art Prize include renowned artists Euan Macleod (2009), Idris Murphy (2014) and Jiawei Shen (2016). Alison Mackay won the Gallipoli Art Prize in 2020 with ‘Breathe’, depicting nine different gas masks, referencing her own experience of the black summer bushfires as well as the bravery of the Rural Fire Service.