Shepparton Art Museum to announce $50K ceramic award

Please note: this is an old article.

This article was published on 2, June, 2017. The infomation contained wihin may be out of date or inaccurate.

Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) presents the sixth iteration of its Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award (SMFACA) from 17 June to 13 August 2017. The five shortlisted artists for this year’s $50,000 acquisitive award are: Glenn Barkley, Karen Black, Laith McGregor, Jenny Orchard and Yasmin Smith. The winner of the award will be announced at the opening of the exhibition on Saturday 17 June.

 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, the possibilities for the medium have expanded significantly. So too have the ideas and themes examined by the artists through this medium. The Sidney Myer Fund have supported this award for over 25 years.

Chairman of the Sidney Myer Fund, Carrillo Gantner AO said: "The Sidney Myer Fund has supported the Shepparton Art Museum ceramic award since 1991. This prize, the only one of its kind in the country, continues to attract Australian artists of the highest order and we are delighted that our support has assisted Shepparton to build one of the very finest collections of ceramics in the country. We look forward to the collection being shared more prominently with the community and with visitors in the planned new SAM."

Shortlisted in early February this year, each of the five artists have spent the past four months developing substantial new bodies of work to present as part of the award’s exhibition.

Glenn Barkley’s ceramic installation explores everyday life, botanical forms and literary reference points while drawing from the histories of the ceramic form and its traditions of museum display.

Karen Black’s painterly surfaces explore themes of war and female experience, her sculptural forms inspired by 3rd and 4th Century Turkish perfume bottles.

Laith McGregor, well known for his esoteric drawings, creates a sculptural installation that explores the intersection of dreams and reality, inspired by nostalgia and the subconscious.

Jenny Orchard expands on her investigations into the natural world, mythology and invented narratives around gene technology, producing fantastical, totemic ceramic forms.

Yasmin Smith assembles a structure using ceramic branches directly cast from River Red Gums and orchard trees around Shepparton, investigating social histories around agriculture, migration and displacement.

The award is being 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.

Dr Rebecca Coates said: "Ceramics is the medium of our times. SAM is hugely excited to present new work by five outstanding contemporary Australian artists who continue to excite and inspire us in the way they engage and extend our understanding of the ceramic medium. These artists have a mastery of materials, which allows us to reflect on the themes and passions that underpin their work. Inspiration comes from the past and present: from archaeology and anthropology to arboretums and apple orchards – these are just some of the ideas that will make us think of ceramics in completely new ways."

Curator: Anna Briers

Curatorial associate: Belinda Briggs

Exhibition Dates: Saturday 17 June – Sunday 13 August 2017

Official Opening: Saturday 17 June, 4 to 6pm

Programs and events, including an artist talk prior to the official opening:

For further information, print quality images, or to arrange interviews with SAM’s director Rebecca Coates or artists included, please contact SAM Marketing Co-coordinators on phone (03) 5832 9494 or by emailing or

High resolution images and artist biographies here -