As it has been for the previous 11 years, the Biblio Art Prize exhibition was stacked full of outstanding works, and the comments from visitors were usually, "How on earth can I pick a favourite?" However, vote they did, and there were four pieces with runaway popular appeal. The three RUNNERS-UP are:
1. The Learning Tree by Maryann Owen
Inspired by The Forest of Wool & Steel by Natsu Miyashita
Maryann's artist statement read: "Tomura, the lead character, endeavoured to become an excellent piano tuner - this desire began whilst listening to the school piano being tuned. The sound reminded him of the forest near his home in Japan. I have chosen to paint the inside and outside covers of the book box with a Japanese styled winter forest from Tomura's home-town. The central tree within the art piece has been left as a raw material representing the knowledge still to be acquired on his quest to discover whether or not he 'has what it takes' to be a successful tuner. The coloured foliage shows the information gathered from the three mentors: green for the tuner whose ethos is give the client only what they need to grow with; silver for his main tutor who taught him many fine details of the trade; and the sheet music for his awe of the gifted fellow employee whose work allows a pianist to produce the magical sounds he first encountered in the school gym. The two flying pieces symbolise the twin girl pianists. These pieces have also been left raw as, like Tomura, they are inexperienced and will - with dedication - be worthy of beautiful colours. The choice to make the art piece from timber connects with the themes of a timber piano and the trees in the forest.
2. Electron Macroscope by Dean Canham
Inspired by The Road to Winter by Mark Smith.
Dean's artist statement read: "The book starts with a virus wiping the earth of the majority of people. The rest of the book is the story of how a couple of young people cope with the aftermath. For my Electron Macroscope, I have 3D printed the housing, and used acrylic lenses and assorted electronics to enable a viewing of the fatal virus. (Please do not, under any circumstances, attempt to loosen the housing.)"
3. All that is Left when the Laughter Dies by Charlotte Dumesny
Inspired by The Art of the Engine Driver by Steven Carroll
Charlotte's artist statement read: "Empty, trapped, absent. This endlessly repeated moment - judged, judged constantly by a room full of strangers, fractured realities, perpetual loneliness, yet surrounded by people."
And THE WINNER of the People's Choice goes to :
This is How I Tell It by Megan Cheyne
Inspired by The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke
Megan's statement read: "The Hate Race is a partial memoir written by MBC chronicling the perpetual racism and discrimination experienced by herself as an Australian Afro-Caribbean girl growing up in outer surburban Sydney in the 80s and 90s. This painting is about a birthday present, a coveted Cabbage Patch Kid. Alarmed that her mother has bought one with brown skin she hides it. Maxine's mother finds it just in time for her to take to show off to her friends. Filled with anxiety she sets off for school, realising what she will endure if she shows it to her peers."
Megan wins the $250 cash prize for this award. Megan has previously won the Biblio Art Grand Prize, and she has also taken out a People's Choice in another year, so she's clearly a popular artist! She's local to the southwest region, and we are thrilled to be able to support her work through this event.
If you have seen the Biblio Art exhibition and particular works have stood out for you, or if you want to pass on a congratulatory note to Megan or any of the runners-up, please add a comment below!