The 2011 Cossack Art Award

Cossack, Western Australia, June 15 – 16

Organised by the Shire of Roebourne
Staged and produced by Colette McEntee & Jennifer Chandler, Archipelago Arts.

I was invited to be the MC for this event which is now in its 19th year. It is held in the long abandoned Pilbara town of Cossack, once a thriving port town where the few remaining buildings have been preserved as a museum to a bygone era.

This was a really enjoyable event to do. Colette and Jennifer from Archipleago Arts  had done an outstanding job in organising all aspects of the event.

Sponsors, judges and the MC were very well looked after with accommodation at the Karratha International Hotel, cars from McLaren Hire and event wines by Award patron, Voyager Estate.

The artworks numberd 308, an increase of 38 on the previous year. Prizemoney was $109,000 a long way from the $4,500 of the event when first staged in 1992 by artist and then caretaker of Cossack, Brian Hoey.

The overall prize was won by Stuart Elliott for a work called Atra. This will now hang at the offices of Roebourne Shire and Stuart will also do a residency at Cossack.

The judges had a tough job but were equal to the task. Janet Holmes ‘a Court and Antonia Syme took two days to sift through the 308 entries and selecet winners in nine categories and then select the best Pilbara artist and the best overall work. Art prizes can be controversial and Janet joked that she had a helicopter on standby to whisk her and Antonia away in case of controversy! But there wasn’t any. They did very well.

The exhibition runs until August 7th, 2011 at the Cossack Bond Store and the Post and Telegraph building just behind it. If you find yourself in that neck of the woods, its well worth a visit. The town of Cossack is also a museum, so do leave yourself a few hours to take a good look around.

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