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50K ceramic prize to be announced 22 August

Five exciting artists will present exhibitions as part of the 2015 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award (SMFACA) at Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) this August. This year’s exhibition supports the rich, vibrant and diverse use of the ceramic medium, and will include the work by five contemporary artists Adam John Cullen, Penny Byrne, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Ruth Hutchinson and Sanné Mestrom.


Exhibition dates: Saturday 22 August – Saturday 22 November 2015
$50,000 award announcement: Saturday 22 August, 6pm
Artist Presentations, key note address by Dr Rebecca Coates and panel discussion: Saturday 22 August, 10am to 3.30pm, cost: $45 (includes lunch). Bookings are essential, phone (03) 5832 9861.

Artist presentations and floor talks, 10am to 12.45pm

Presentations by shortlisted artists: Penny Byrne, Adam John Cullen, Ruth Hutchinson, Sanné Mestrom and Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran.

Keynote Address and Panel Discussion, 2 to 3.30pm

In her keynote address, Dr Rebecca Coates, associate curator at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and co-judge of the 2015 SMFACA, will draw upon the work of a range of artists to illicit discussion on the usefulness and rise of craft traditions within contemporary art practice. This will be followed by a panel discussion on emergent themes and approaches in Australian contemporary ceramics with shortlisted artists lead by Anna Briers, SAM senior curator.

(see for full details)

SAM’s SMFACA is the premier national award for Australian artists working in ceramics with a $50,000 prize acquisition to be awarded to one of the artists on the opening night of Saturday 22 August 2015.

The 2015 SMFACA attracted over 100 Australian artists from exemplary master potters through to contemporary artists exploring ceramic traditions and the medium’s potential for intervention in a range of aesthetic and political endeavours. It was a fantastic field of applicants and proposed exhibitions.

Each of the winning artists have been commissioned to produce an exhibition of new work for display at SAM from 22 August to 22 November 2015. The artists will also travel to Shepparton for the celebratory opening and announcement day of Saturday 22 August.

The 2015 award was judged by SAM Director Kirsten Paisley (now National Gallery of Australia Deputy Director) and Dr Rebecca Frances Coates. Rebecca is an independent curator and writer. She lectures in Art History and Art Curatorship, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne and was awarded a PhD in Art History from the University of Melbourne in 2013.  She is Associate Curator at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, where she has curated over forty exhibitions, and worked extensively as a curator in Australia and overseas. 

Dr Rebecca Coates said:

This year’s entrants provided rich and varied work.  Within a contemporary context, each of the five artists selected encourages us to rethink ceramics as a form. Their themes include creative genius and identity, kitsch and global warfare. They repurpose technical materials such as dental porcelain, and revise Modernist art histories. Each of the artists extends our understanding of what ceramics can be, and in turn, how we live and work.


For further information on this media release please contact:

Stephanie Pirrie, Miranda Brown Publicity  / 03 9419 0931

20th Drawing Wall Artist to Begin Art

Next Monday 20 through to Thursday 23 July will see the creation of Shepparton Art Museum’s 20th drawing wall by Melbourne-based artist Jordan Marani.

Marani's practise uses vibrant geometries and intersecting planes that entice through their formal relationships and delectable hues. Closer inspection reveals ‘colourful language' in the form of four letter expletives within the compositional structure. Over the last 25 years Marani has explored profanity drawn from the ugly vernacular of Australian politics and the pub. Employing a liberal serving of cheek, silliness, and a devil may care attitude, Marani reminds us not to take art and life too seriously.

Jordan said:
‘My work is dark but humorous, blends lowbrow culture with high art and involves personal narratives and cynical observations of the human condition. Through painting and sculpture employing bright colour, humour and word play, I aim to explore the funny side of the dark side.'

From 2008-2011 Jordan was co-founder and director of Hell Gallery. His work has been exhibited at Tate Modern, the National Gallery of Victoria, Static Gallery Liverpool, Switchback Gallery, 200 Gertrude Street, Daine Singer, Neon Parc, Utopian Slumps, Ryan Renshaw, Ray Hughes Gallery, Powell Street Gallery and at ARIs including Death Be Kind, Inflight, Seventh, and West Space. He is represented by Daine Singer.

Jordan will begin working on the Drawing Wall #20 this Monday 20 July at 11am. You're welcome to visit SAM and watch him at work throughout the week while enjoying a coffee and great art.

MEDIA Amina Barolli, Shepparton Art Museum
p (+61 3) 5832 9522


140 Student Teachers to Learn About Art and Museums at SAM

Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) is partnering with La Trobe University’s School of Education to deliver an intensive arts in education program to 140 pre-service teachers next week on Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 July 2015.

140 student teachers from around the state and beyond currently enrolled in Shepparton's Middle Years teaching program known as the Graduate Diploma in Education (Middle Years) will be introduced to new learning contexts that highlight the importance of introducing and engaging students in the visual arts and museum education to support both single discipline and multidisciplinary approaches to learning in Years 5 to 10.

SAM visual arts educator Rhonda Chrisanthou and Guthrie Street Primary School teacher Suzy Turton have designed presentations and activities that aim to clarify the role of informal learning in settings like SAM and to demonstrate the importance of partnerships in providing access to the arts as well as opportunities in experiential and applied learning.

Ms Chrisanthou said:

SAM's education programs have long provided a range of opportunities and resources to local and regional schools to participate in learning about Australian art and ceramics. In more recent years, exhibition and public programs featuring contemporary art have provided a range of challenges and opportunities to re-think the nature and purpose of the visual arts in our everyday lives. In particular, the role of the arts in enabling creative and critical thinking as well as aesthetic knowledge and skills based learning.

SAM is delivering three, two hour sessions to teachers on Monday 13 July at 10am, 1pm and on Tuesday 14 July at 10am. Presentations will include a workshop activity and museum tours through SAM's permanent collection and current major exhibition Greg Creek: The Desktop Drawings.

Shepparton Art Museum is proudly provided by Greater Shepparton City Council, located at 70 Welsford Street, Shepparton. For general SAM enquiries and bookings please contact: (03) 5832 9861, email, or visit for more information.