The Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award is a biennial acquisitive award & exhibition celebrating the diversity and strength of Australia’s textile artistry.
The fifth biennial WCTA will be held in 2017, and each incarnation sees professional Australian artists working in any style of textile media invited to submit an entry for consideration within a competitive selection process. A judging panel consisting of the Wangaratta Art Gallery Director and two respected professionals then selects a shortlist of finalists for the Award exhibition at the Gallery over the winter months.
The value of the Award in 2017 will be $10,000 including GST and this included the acquisition of the work.
Wangaratta has a long and prominent history of textiles, both in manufacturing and as a craft form, Wangaratta Art Gallery builds upon this unique tradition through the presentation of this outstanding award which is guaranteed to appeal to everyone, local and regional residents and visitors alike.
In addition to the main award exhibition in Gallery1, concurrent textile exhibitions are held in Gallery2 and in the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre foyer. The WCTA also coincides with the biennial Wangaratta Stitched Up Textile Festival.
This program is developed to enrich textiles in Wangaratta and across Australia, it will assist in ensuring that contemporary Australian textile art is highly valued and supported now and into the future.
Wangaratta Art Gallery maintains an extensive database of textile artists, please enter your email address below if you would like to be added to this list:
image right: Kate Just with her 2015 WCTA winning work, SAFE BANNER 2014, bricklayer’s yarn, retroflective thread, nylon, cotton, aluminium. Courtesy the artist & Daine Singer Melbourne
The Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award 2015 exhibition was officially launched with a huge crowd on Saturday 13 June. Over 120 people including artists and visitors from areas across the state as well as the ACT & NSW came to hear who was to be announced the recipient of the $10,000 prize – which was the largest awarded in the exhibition’s eight-year history.
Judge Katie Somerville, Senior Curator of Fashion and Textiles at the National Gallery of Victoria acknowledged the incredible depth of talent in the exhibition and the variety of approaches explored by the artists when making their work. She applauded artists who had taken traditional techniques and materials and combined them into works which reflected contemporary issues, ideas and forms. Ms Somerville selected two works to be highly commended, Susie Losch’s installation piece Teasel which incorporates dried flower heads known as ‘teasels’ which were traditionally used to comb wool before the invention of metal cards; and John Parkes’ piece Quilt For The Ironing Board – Ironing Bored which has reinterpreted a vintage ironing board cover and linen with thousands of colour-toned hand stitches.
The crowd waited with bated breath to hear which of the 47 finalists would receive the award, and luckily Melbourne artist Kate Just was there to hear her piece SAFE BANNER announced as the winner. Ms Somerville said she was moved by the collaborative way Just had created her work, working with community members across Melbourne to create the knitted squares of builders twine that were pieced together to make the banner. She also acknowledged that the projects which resulted in the banner’s creation, along with the associated photographs of public walks with the banners, highlighted the issue of violence against women which is incredibly pertinent to Australian contemporary society in 2015. Ms Just said after the announcement, “Winning this award for SAFE BANNER is very significant for me. I have spent the last three years producing a range of community engaged projects, many of them to do with envisioning a better, less violent world. I am thrilled that this sombre but also hopeful work, produced by so many optimistic hands, will have its home in Wangaratta, in a respected textile collection that holds the work of artists I deeply admire. I am very pleased that the funds from the prize will also provide much needed future support for projects and residencies slated in Japan, New York and Melbourne over the next year!”
Following the excitement of the award announcement and opening of the exhibition, the attentive audience were treated to a series of artist talks by four of the exhibiting artists – Naomi Zouwer from Canberra, Beth Peters from Chiltern, Maureen Locke-Maclean from the NSW Central Coast and award winner Kate Just from Melbourne. Each of the artists gave personal insights into their respective practices and the concepts and techniques used to create their works. .
Forty six artist’s working in contemporary textile-related media as varied as tapestry, sculpture, printing, dyeing, assemblage, embroidery, felting, digital projection, paper fibre, and natural grasses were selected for the award exhibition from over 160 entries from all over Australia.
The judge for the 2013 award was Kelly Gellatly, Director of the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne. Ms Gellatly announced the winner of the $8000 acquisitive award at the exhibition opening on Saturday 1 June at 11am. The prize was awarded to Paul Yore for his wool tapestry “Map”, this winning work has become part of the Wangaratta Art Gallery’s growing art collection. In addition “Rebus” of Beechworth sponsored a Highly Commended award of $500, which was awarded to Gillian Lavery for her work “Thread Translation”.
An informative Textile Forum was also held following the opening and award announcement with guest speakers and artist talks to be lead by the event’s Patron and National Living Craft Treasure, textile artist Liz Williamson.
image right: Paul YORE, Map, 2012, wool tapestry, Winner of the 2013 WCTA
The second biennial Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award was held from 4 June – 17 July 2011. Over 200 entries by 134 artists were received, with 44 artworks by 42 artists selected to be involved in the award exhibition The selection panel for 2011 included Director of Ararat Regional Art Gallery, Anthony Camm; Director of the Australian Tapestry Workshop, Antonia Syme; and Wangaratta Art Gallery Director, Dianne Mangan. 2011 Judge Valerie Kirk announced the winner of the $5000 acquisitive award at the exhibition opening at 11am on Saturday 4 June. Award patron Liz Williamson also spoke at the opening which was enjoyed by a large audience of textile artists, enthusiasts and community members alike. An exciting and informative Textile Forum was held following the opening and award announcement with guest speakers Valerie Kirk and Anthony Camm and 2009 award winner Mandy Gunn.
image right: Patrick SNELLING, 8.9, 2010-11, digital and handprinted textiles, Winner of the 2011 WCTA
The inaugural Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award was held in 2009, with entries received from 109 artists representing every state and territory within Australia. 36 artists were selected to partake in the exhibition which was on display at the Wangaratta Art Gallery from 20 June – 19 July. The entries submitted covered diverse materials and techniques of traditional and contemporary textile art forms, presented in a contemporary format. Liz Williamson (Head of School of Design Studies & Textile Co-ordinator, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales) was judge. Ms Williamson announced Mandy Gunn’s woven rubber sculptural piece Fire Sticks as the 2009 award winner at the official exhibition launch on Saturday 20 June.
image right: Mandy GUNN, Fire Sticks (Burn Out Series), 2009, shredded inner tubes woven on cotton, wood. Winner of the 2009 WCTA