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Ellen José Art Award supports young women artists

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Women visual artists aged 18–35 working in any medium are invited to enter the national $15,000 non-acquisitive Ellen José Art Award.

The award is a partnership between The Ellen José Memorial Foundation and Bayside City Council and honours Torres Strait artist, activist and reconciliation advocate Ellen José (1951 – 2017).

Ellen Jose was a pioneer in Australia's urban Indigenous art movement specialising in a variety of media including painting, printmaking and photography and was widely known for her work as a social justice campaigner. She lived with her family in Bayside suburb Black Rock for over 20 years.

Co-founder of the Ellen Jose Foundation, and husband of the late Ellen Jose, Dr Joseph Toscano said the award aims to honour the memory of his wife and give young women a foot up in a historically challenging industry.

“Ellen José tore down brick walls with her bare hands to become a visual artist,” he said.

“She wanted those young women who are walking down the same path to have a sledge hammer in their hands, to break down any remaining barriers.”

Six shortlisted artists will be invited to display their work in a 2022 exhibition at Bayside Gallery- Corner Wilson and Carpenter Street, Brighton. The $15,000 non-acquisitive prize will give a significant boost to the winner and each of the shortlisted artists are given an exciting career opportunity to present their work professionally at Bayside Gallery.   

Bayside Mayor Cr Laurence Evans OAM said the award honours Ellen’s significant contribution and is a timely initiative to support women artists who face significant barriers entering the art industry.

“It’s been a really tough ride for artists during the pandemic and this award will support the winning artists’ continued development by providing recognition as well as a financial support,” Cr Evans said.

The award will be judged by renowned industry experts: Artistic Director & CEO, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) Max Delany, and Associate Provost at the University of Melbourne, Professor Marcia Langton AM.

Artists are invited to enter images of multiple works for consideration with scope to propose new work/s as part of their submission.

Submissions open 2 June until 27 August 2021.

Exhibition of shortlisted artists will be held 2 July – 28 August 2022.

More information on the award

Ellen José Art Award supports young women artists

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