Exclusive: Ken Done Judges Record Entries in the Mosman Youth Art Prize
THIS YEAR, MOSMAN RESIDENT AND ICONIC ARTIST KEN DONE RETURNS TO OUR LOCAL GALLERY, TO JUDGE THE 30TH ANNUAL MOSMAN YOUTH ART PRIZE. ESTABLISHED IN 1988, THE COMPETITION ENCOURAGES THE CREATIVE TALENTS OF ASPIRING ARTISTS, WITH THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS UP FOR GRABS, AS ANNA USHER REPORTS.
Photography by GRAHAM MONRO
It is impossible not to notice the sheer delight that sweeps across Ken Done’s face, when he enters the busy judging room upstairs at the Mosman Art Gallery.
Inside, it's a hive of activity, with staff and picture hangers sorting through hundreds of colourful works, animatedly discussing where on the stark white walls, each one will be placed.
The iconic Australian artist is here to judge the 30th annual Mosman Youth Art Prize, a complex and time-consuming task, that will take an entire day to complete.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be here, and the sheer volume of entries this year is almost overwhelming,” Ken laughs.
“It is just wonderful to see that art is alive and well among our youth.
“And some of these works are just beyond fabulous, I’m so impressed,” he says.
More than 300 individual entries have been received for the Prize’s 30th birthday. Each one judged by Ken, whose vibrant paintings and design works are widely recognised and hold a unique position in Australia’s cultural heritage.
“The standard of entries is incredibly high and it is a complicated process to judge them,” he says, “this will be an exhibition that nobody wants to miss.”
The Mosman Youth Art Prize is an annual competition, organised by Mosman Council, that aims to encourage the creative talents of young, aspiring and emerging artists.
Established by Ken in 1988, it is open to all young people aged between 12-21 years and is one of the richest junior art competitions in Australia.
Gallery Director John Cheeseman says this year, the highly sought-after Prize, that has launched the careers of famous contemporary artists, like Alex Seton and Linda Klarfeld, is bigger than ever before.
“We are absolutely thrilled with the quality of the work this year,” John tells Mosman Collective.
“Young people are always showing so much creativity – and over the 30 years we’ve been hosting the Prize, trends have completely changed.
“We now cater for a variety of art, including new media, video – and even computer games have been entered.
“Kids in our area have so much raw talent and a great range of artistic skills,” he said.
A long-time supporter of local artists, both Ken and John say that showcasing the work of young artists, in a high-profile exhibition, is vital for those who might be leaning towards a creative career.
“The Prize is a great taste of what it’s like to exhibit as a grown up, working artist,” Ken says.
“My advice to all young kids who want to pursue art as a career, is to keep working, enjoy the process - and don’t be disappointed at the inevitable setbacks that happen along the way.
“Because we’ve all had them,” he laughs, “Even me!”
The Mosman Youth Art Prize will be announced at the Exhibition opening night on Friday, March 16 at 6:30pm.
The Exhibition runs from March 17-April 15.
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