South Australia's Vincent Namatjira Wins $100,000 Ramsay Art Prize 2019

South Australia's Vincent Namatjira Wins $100,000 Ramsay Art Prize 2019

Vincent Namatjira has been named the winner of the Ramsay Art Prize 2019, Australia's most generous prize for young people, with his work Close Contact.

Art Gallery of South Australia Director, Rhana Devenport ONZM said, 'The Ramsay Art Prize sets out to elevate and accelerate careers of young contemporary Australian artists. Vincent Namatjira is at a pivotal point in his career and his work Close Contact represents a new way of working for him.'

The judges were unanimous in their appreciation of the work and feel that Namatijira's bold new work represents the very essence of the Ramsay Art Prize, which is now in its second iteration.

Great-grandson of watercolourist Albert Namatjira, Vincent Namatjira lives and works in Indulkana in the A angu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands of South Australia.

Upon accepting the award, Vincent Namatjira said, 'Winning this prize means a lot to me and it will hopefully create more opportunities for me to continue to make more ambitious work and to share my practice with new audiences. I also hope to use my position to create opportunities for other young artists in remote Indigenous communities. I can honestly say that becoming an artist turned my life around and now I want to be a leader and a role-model for the next generation of young artists.'

The winning work was selected by a panel of international and national contemporary art experts. Guest judge Russell Storer, Deputy Director (Curatorial and Research), National Gallery of Singapore said 'Vincent's work stood out for its directness and clarity, but also for its wit and complexity.'

'Close Contact is a startling self-portrait combining painting and sculpture, and as such represents a major shift in Vincent's practice. Cook is represented as a persistent shadow of the artist showing how Indigenous and white Australia are inextricably linked by history, but also in the present. Vincent's thumbs-up stance expresses resilience and humour, crucial strategies for resistance and survival.' Russell Storer said.

Established in the name of South Australia's leading cultural philanthropists James and Diana Ramsay, the Ramsay Art Prize is an important acquisitive art prize for contemporary Australian artists. Presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia and supported in perpetuity by the James & Diana Ramsay Foundation, the Ramsay Art Prize aims to inspire generation after generation of artists and art lovers.

Chair of the Foundation, Nick Ross, says, 'The Ramsay Art Prize embodies the values and vision of James and Diana's legacy. It is a privilege to provide young artists with the opportunity to radically change their trajectory.'

All 23 finalists are also eligible for a People's Choice Prize supported by sponsors Lipman Karas. This non-acquisitive cash prize of $15,000 is chosen by public vote and will be announced on 9 August 2019.

The Ramsay Art Prize 2019 was judged by a panel of leading contemporary art specialists - Russell Storer, Deputy Director (Curatorial and Research), National Gallery of Singapore, Richard Lewer, contemporary artist, and Dr Lisa Slade, Assistant Director, Artistic Programs, Art Gallery of South Australia.

The Ramsay Art Prize 2019 exhibition runs from 25 May to 25 August 2019 at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Admission is free. For further information on the 23 finalists and the Ramsay Art Prize visit

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