In a first for the Alice Prize, the unpackers, in the tradition of Sydney's Archibald, will get to choose their favourite work. The unpackers, members of the Alice Springs Art Foundation which runs the now biennial prize, are in many cases artists themselves, so their choice should be interesting.
In another first, a work of live performance art has been selected among the finalists. The artist, Janet Meaney, will perform ahead of the opening for the judge, Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia, Nick Mitzevich, and again on opening night, while a video and other elements will be on display in the month-long exhibition.
Painting and photography continue to dominate the entries but work in other media includes four video works. The 65 finalists – 20 of them from the Northern Territory – were chosen from among 382 entries by preselection judges Daniel Mudie Cunningham, senior curator with Artbank, and Helen Maxwell, curator and art consultant.
As always the viewing public will be able to vote for the People's Choice, a prize worth $1000, named in honour of a past member of the foundation, Tammy Kingsley. A bequest of over $300,000 from Ms Kingsley's father allowed the purse to be increased in 2001 from $5000 to $15,000. Traditionally the prize has included a residency for the winning artist but it won't this year, although the purse has increased to $25,000.
The Alice Prize – the 37th this year – is one of Australia's oldest contemporary art prizes. It opens at Araluen on Friday, May 11.
Pictured: Alice Prize unpackers (from left) Steve Anderson, Mardijah Simpson and Julie Taylor, the coordinator of this year's prize, will get pick their own winner.