The Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award – Australia’s longest-running and most prestigious printmaking award – returns in 2021, showcasing works of remarkable breadth and poignancy from emerging, mid-career and cross disciplinary visual artists.

After a year’s hiatus due to COVID, the 45th FAC Print Award was welcomed with open arms by the sector, attracting 262 entries from across the country.

Among the 51 finalist works are a diverse selection of traditional printmaking, artist books and unconventional multi-media works, many of which probe at the impact of the pandemic and the fault lines of contemporary society it exposed.

Emma Buswell, FAC Print Award Coordinator explained “With the forced isolation of 2020, many artists spent a lot of time alone in their studios, offering them the time to play with unusual ideas and, indeed, to reflect on the often sombre, indeterminate mood of the outside world.”

Daniel O’Shane, Irukili (to be engulfed by magical forces), 2020, vinylcut relief print, 114 x 218cm, 1/25, printed by Theo Tremblay (Editions Tremblay NFP)

Among the cohort of finalists is acclaimed Western Australian artist Susanna Castleden, whose enormous seven-metre-long work features a graphite imprint of plane wings from a 1950s Expeditor. Her work speaks to the lost worlds of planes and of travel that were once integral to our lives, and now languish in semi-permanent exile in the desert, obscured from our reality.

Kununurra-based artist Dan McCabe’s work is a 1:1 scale representation of a Mitsubishi car, rendered in sublimation print on fabric. Also functioning as a tent, the work explores concerns around homelessness and housing affordability; issues which have indeed worsened as a result of the pandemic, offering the work a new, darker significance.

These notions of home and the built environment are also reflected in the work of artist duo Pip Lewi and Paul Sutherland. They worked collaboratively on a print which articulates the network of roads and built environment immediately surrounding their home. A documentation of the rituals of daily suburban existence, their work mirrors the universal experience of being landlocked and rediscovering our own backyards.

These works will be presented alongside 47 other finalists, from recent graduates to nationally esteemed mid-senior career artists, in an exhibition that has long been a highlight of the FAC exhibition calendar.

The winner of the award will receive a $16,000 cash prize and their work will be acquired for the City of Fremantle Art Collection. The runner up will be awarded $6,000.

Fremantle Arts Centre Director Anna Reece commented, “Australia’s premier showcase of printmaking for almost half a century, the Print Award allows us the great privilege to uncover and celebrate emerging artists and leading practitioners across the medium, and across the country.”

From 2022, the FAC Print Award will become a biannual event, occurring every second year to enable greater flexibility within the curatorial program while ensuring this nationally respected award maintains the exceptional calibre, prestige and platform it deserves.

The 45th FAC Print Award winner will be announced at the opening of the exhibition. Running in parallel with the Print Award is Deanna Hitti’s exhibition Object Of The Game, which also opens on 6pm, Friday 28 May.

2021 Judging Panel

Felicity Johnston: Curator and Director, Art Collective WA

Rachel Salmon-Lomas: Printmaking lecturer and technician, Curtin University

Lia McKnight: Western Australian visual artist and Collection Manager, Curtin University

The Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award opens 6:30pm Friday 28 May and is open 10am–5pm daily until Sunday 18 July.

Media Enquiries: Rosamund Brennan | 08 9432 9565 | [email protected]

Header image: Dan McCabe, Shadows on the hill, 2016-ongoing, digital photographic print on synthetic fabric, 140 x 164 x 450cm. Image courtesy the artist