On 28 October 2022, Flying Arts Alliance hosted a gala event at Old Government House at QUT in Brisbane to announce the 2022 Queensland Regional Art Awards winners and to mark the conclusion of Flying Arts’ 50th Anniversary year.
Eleven regional Queensland artists were recognised for their artistic excellence, winning a share of over $40,000 worth of prizes in this year’s Queensland Regional Art Awards (QRAA).
The QRAA has been a highlight on the regional arts calendar for over ten years, offering a significant opportunity for artists located outside of the Brisbane City Council area to reach an audience beyond their locality. The annual visual arts prize is established for artists living in regional and remote Queensland, aiming to provide both cash prizes and a platform for further professional opportunities.
In 2022, the QRAA invited artists to explore the concept of ‘Reframe’. The award called for artworks that responded to our changing world, taking into consideration the widespread economic and environmental impacts on the arts sector in recent times.
This year, entries to the QRAA expressed the vast creativity, skills and imagination thriving in Queensland’s regional creative communities. With a 60% increase in entries from the previous year, Queensland’s regions were well represented with artworks submitted from as far north as Thursday Island.
Special delegates, industry representatives and peers joined Flying Arts on the night. Flying Arts was humbled by Yuggera, Turrbal, Nunukul, Gorenpul/Cooperoo, and Yugembir man Shannon Ruska, who delivered a moving Welcome to Country.
The evening’s official proceedings commenced with Flying Arts Chair, The Hon Anthe Philippides SC, formally thanking the generosity of Flying Arts cultural patrons Mr Tim Fairfax AC and Mrs Gina Fairfax AC whose ongoing patronage was recognised with the presentation of a Certificate of Life Membership. The event also provided an opportunity to acknowledge Flying Arts’ key stakeholders; the Queensland Government, Holding Redlich the principal partner of the QRAA, alongside the many valued award partners whose contributions to the QRAA are invaluable.
The evening continued with the Director of Bundaberg Regional Art Galleries and one of the 2022 QRAA Judge’s, Rebecca McDuff, who gave a heartfelt speech on the importance of her early interactions with Flying Arts and how this experience has been a part of her journey in a career in the regional Queensland arts sector.
The 2022 Queensland Regional Art Awards prize winners can be viewed here.
With much excitement, the prize category winners were announced with many representatives from award partners presenting the winning artist with their corresponding prize.
The overall QRAA ‘Art for Life’ Award winner was Kellie O’Dempsey. In her acceptance speech, Sunshine Coast-based artist Kellie O’Dempsey commented on her artistic practice, highlighting her ongoing involvement with Flying Arts and the importance of supporting regional artists.
Capturing the spirit of the QRAA Kellie O’Dempsey’s winning artwork Wish You Were Here 1, is a mixed media collage and projection reaching 120cm high and 120cm wide, which began as the artist’s reimagining of a post-pandemic life. In her artist statement, O’Dempsey describes the artwork as where the “uncanny collides with the uncertain”, where in search of progress a figure attempts to travel yet goes nowhere. Wish You Were Here 1 combines collaged paper with a video projection and uses repetition and monotonous loops to create a non-specific location and time. Kellie O’Dempsey’s artwork blends the physical and the psychological for a moment of hypnosis and absurdity to find balance in an uncertain world.
The official proceedings for the evening concluded with a live performance from students from the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA), a highlight of the evening.
Flying Arts would like to sincerely thank the dignitaries, guests, artists, supporters and sponsors who joined on the night and all those that have been a part of their 50 years of service throughout Queensland!