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University of Canberra continues to support Napier Waller Art Prize

Elly Mackay

24 April 2020: Entries for the third annual Napier Waller Art Prize are now open, with current and former Defence Force personnel encouraged to show off their artistic talent. The competition is run by the Australian War Memorial and supported by the University of Canberra.

The prize encourages the use of art and creativity as a healing power, with the winner receiving a $10,000 cash prize. It is open to all current and former Defence Force personnel, and promotes artistic excellence while raising awareness of the experiences of service men and women.

The University of Canberra has been a founding partner of the prize since it’s conception in 2017. The partnership was initially formed through the University’s involvement with the Australian Defence Force Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills (ADF ARRT) program.

University of Canberra Deputy Director of Innovation and Business Development Ian Drayton became involved in the initiative following his Churchill Fellowship – which researched the use of creative arts to assist and manage the recovery from combat-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“I’d been researching how the creative arts can aid soldiers’ recovery from combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder for some time now,” Mr Drayton said.

“We know creative arts have a positive effect on those who have been wounded or injured as part of their service.”

“The Napier Waller Art Prize is a great way for veterans to connect through art and to help current and former Defence personnel manage the pain and trauma they may experience.”

The University also provides a judge for the panel. In previous years Professor of Creative Practice Jen Webb and Dr Caren Florence have been selected as the representatives.

Assistant Director, National Collection at the Australian War Memorial General Brian Dawson (Ret’d) said the competition is even more important in these unusual times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These are challenging and uncertain times, however we believe art and creativity can play an important role in providing respite and fostering resilience during difficult times,” he said.

“The Napier Waller Art Prize provides a unique opportunity for our current and former service personnel to share their experiences and stories through a deeply personal and revealing medium.”

“I urge all creative Australian servicemen and servicewomen, current and former serving, to consider entering their work.”

Entrants are encouraged to submit their artwork, in any visual art medium that creates a feeling of release. Accepted forms of art include – but are not limited to - paintings, photographs, drawings, sculptures and digital works.

The winning artwork, along with highly commended works will be exhibited at the Australian War Memorial at the end of 2020. Before that, shortlisted entries will be available for viewing on the Memorial’s website from August.

Alongside the cash prize, the winning artist will receive a mentoring day with an Australian artist and a two-week research residency in the art section of the War Memorial.

Entries for the Napier Waller Art Prize close on Sunday 7 June, with the winner announced in late September.

For more information, visit the Australian War Memorial website.