Hobart-based emerging visual artist Laura E Kennedy was awarded the inaugural Henry Jones Art Prize at a VIP function last year, launching the exhibition of finalists at the IXL Packing Room. 137 contemporary Tasmanian artworks were submitted for the prize, which included embroidery, watercolour, sculpture, oils, origami and fine printmaking. 54 finalists were chosen exhibit for the prize.

The winning artwork by Laura E Kennedy is titled “Albert hoped that by puffing up the extremities of his girth he would sufficiently intimidate the obnoxious invaders”. It features an owl, made with mixed media on panel within a 3D-printed ornamental frame, which aims to manipulate the standard boundary between artwork and surrounding picture frame.

The panel of judges consisting of Lindsay Broughton, Dr Jane Quon and David Keeling reported: “The winning work is sophisticated, fully realised with a deep felt love of nature. Using diverse media and techniques steeped in tradition, Laura has created an artwork that brings these techniques into the contemporary realm.”

Words from Laura:

“Winning the Inaugural Henry Jones Art Prize last year has had an amazing impact on my arts practice. The validation of my work that it provided gave my artistic confidence a rather healthy boost. Also, shortly after I was awarded an incredible commercial gallery in New York contacted me and I am currently working towards participating in their summer group exhibition in July 2019. 

Winning the vast prize money while heavily pregnant has also meant that I can take a longer period of maternity leave. I am currently deeply enjoying the balancing act of getting busy in the studio in between the nap times of my delightful baby girl.”

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