Applications for SAM's 2017 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award (SMFACA) to Open

Please note: this is an old article.

This article was published on 26, October, 2016. The infomation contained wihin may be out of date or inaccurate.

Entries for SAM’s (Shepparton Art Museum) 2017 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award (SMFACA) will open online Thursday 27 October 2016, with a $50,000 prize awarded to one of five shortlisted Australian artists.

The SMFACA has offered Australian audiences the opportunity to view the best contemporary ceramic art for over 12 years. With ceramics increasingly utilised by a number of emerging and established contemporary artists, as recent exhibitions such as the 2016 Adelaide Biennial reflected, the possibilities for the medium has significantly expanded. So too have the ideas and themes examined by the artists through this medium. 

SAM Director, Dr Rebecca Coates stated:

SAM is delighted to present the 2017 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award. Over the last few years, we have seen contemporary artists working with ceramics in new and exciting ways. We could even say there’s been a renaissance of sorts in the contemporary ceramics world – with artists taking risks, exploding perceptions of size and scale, challenging notions of the material, and all to engage with ideas that resonate with all of us living and making sense of our contemporary world. These artists are part of a long artistic tradition of Australian artists working in the ceramics medium. Each in their own way has explored the medium, extended and challenged our understanding of its possibilities, and along the way, created works that inspire, challenge, and intrigue.

We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support of the Sidney Myer Fund who have supported this significant national Award since its inception in 1991. Without such sustained philanthropic vision, contemporary artists working in the ceramics medium, our exhibition history, and SAM’s Collection would be the poorer.  

The 2017 Award will be judged by Jacqueline Doughty, Curatorial Manager, The Ian Potter Museum of Art The University of Melbourne; Jason Smith, Director, Geelong Art Gallery; and Dr Rebecca Coates, Director, Shepparton Art Museum.

The 2017 SMFACA exhibition will run from 17 June to 13 August 2017. Five shortlisted recipients will each receive a $2,000 stipend to produce a body of work for exhibition at SAM. Costs associated with the exhibition will be borne by the Art Museum, including freight and the production of a fully illustrated catalogue. Artists will work with the support of curatorial staff at SAM throughout the planning of their exhibitions.

There will be five months between the announcement of Award recipients and the delivery of works to SAM. One of the five shortlisted artists will be awarded a $50,000 acquisitive cash prize, and their work will enter the SAM Collection. The prize winning work will be announced at the official opening on Saturday 17 June 2017.

In 2015, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran was awarded SAM’s 2015 SMFACA for his vibrant series of figures that explored identity, gender and various religious beliefs. Since then, he has continued to excite and challenge audiences in Australia and overseas with his exploration of global themes and expanded approach towards ceramics as a contemporary medium. Recent exhibitions have included Magic Object, 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art; Archipelago of Ramesh, 2016 Kuandu Biennale in Taipei, Taiwan; and Mud Men, National Gallery of Australia.

Hear about Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran’s SMFACA experience and his exhibition in 2015:


Applications open

Thursday 27 October 2016

Applications close

Wednesday 7 December 2016, 4pm (Eastern Daylight Savings Time)

Artists advised of selection

Friday 16 December 2016 (5 months to installation)

Exhibition Dates

Saturday 17 June to Sunday 13 August 2017

Exhibition Opening, prize announcement

Saturday 17 June 2017

Artworks despatched for return to artists

September 2017



For further information on how to apply, full terms and conditions and a history of the Award, please visit All applications for the Award are to be completed online by Wednesday 7 December 2016, 4pm (Eastern Daylight Savings Time).