Big names to judge awards

Louise AllinghamPilbara News
Josh Cocking won the encouragement award for his work, Cause and Affect, at the 2016 Hedland Art Awards.
Camera IconJosh Cocking won the encouragement award for his work, Cause and Affect, at the 2016 Hedland Art Awards. Credit: North West Telegraph, Louise Allingham

Three high-profile art professionals will travel to the Pilbara to judge the Cossack Art Awards next weekend.

Museum of Contemporary Art director Elizabeth Ann McGregor, indigenous artist and lecturer Bianca Beetson and 2014 Cossack At Award winner Josh Cocking will be judges for the art awards’ 25th anniversary.

Cocking is a WA-based artist who took out the overall prize at the 2014 Cossack Art Awards.

His unique painting aesthetic has won him a plethora of prizes, including the engagement award at last year’s Hedland Art Awards, and his work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions throughout the country.

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MacGregor moved to Australia in 1999 from Birmingham to take up the job as director at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art at a time when the facility was facing great challenges.

In a few short months, MacGregor had saved the museum from financial hardship and has since been one of the country’s most prominent figures in the art world.

She has received several prestigious awards and honours during her career, most notably an OBE on the Queen’s birthday in 2011 for services to art.

Beetson is an indigenous artist based in Brisbane and is a lecturer in contemporary indigenous art at Queensland’s Griffith University.

She is known for her recognisable artwork, which always incorporates the colour pink, and has been featured in exhibitions in Australia and internationally.

Beetson’s work includes all sorts of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, photography and public art, and explores her identity as an indigenous Australian.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the awards continued to attract a high calibre of participation. “Over the past 25 years, the Cossack Art Awards has been attracting the very best artistic talent from the Pilbara and across Australia and has earned itself a reputation as the country’s most unique regional art prize,” he said.

“I’m extremely delighted to announce that this year’s entries will be judged by some of the biggest names in Australia’s art world with a high-profile panel of accomplished artists and critics including past Cossack Art Awards winner Joshua Cocking.”

The awards are presented by the City in collaboration with principal partner Rio Tinto.

Rio Tinto general manager Ports Dampier Jess Farrell said she was looking forward to being a part of the awards and supporting the development of arts and culture in the region.

“The calibre of judges presiding over this year’s Cossack Art Awards is a reflection of the growing status and reputation of the event nationally and we are looking forward to welcoming them to the Pilbara,” she said.

“As principal partner, Rio Tinto is proud to support the long-term development of arts and culture in the region and the opportunities and insights these visiting professionals and celebrated artists can bring with them.”

A total of 300 artworks have been entered into this year’s awards with a prize pool of more than $100,000 to be given out across 10 categories.

For more information, visit cossackartawards.com.au.

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