2019 Len Fox Painting Award

8 June—1 September 2019

Congratulations to the winner of the 2019 Len Fox Painting Award Betty Kuntiwa Pumani, for her work Antara, 2018.

Betty Kuntiwa Pumani’s commanding composition Antara 2018 is a work of great power and beauty that invites us to engage, enquire and reflect.

The Len Fox Painting Award is a biennial prize and is awarded to a living Australian artist (or Permanent Resident) to commemorate the life and work of Emmanuel Phillips Fox (1865–1915), the uncle of Len Fox, partner of benefactor Mona Fox.

The Len Fox Painting Award Exhibition was open to the public from 8 June 2019 – 1 September 2019.

Betty Kuntiwa Pumani was announced on Friday 7 June as the winner of the 2019 Len Fox Painting Award by judge Geoffrey Smith, Chairman Sotheby’s Australia, at a gala exhibition opening at the Castlemaine Art Museum.

Geoffrey Smith, Chairman of Sotheby’s Australia and judge of the 2019 Len Fox Painting Award said:

‘Betty Kuntiwa Pumani’s commanding composition Antara 2018 is a work of great power and beauty that invites us to engage, enquire and reflect.

As an Australian Jewish artist who travelled the world, Emanuel Phillips Fox was inspired by the co-existence of Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures that produced art that reconciled difference and otherness. Fox’s most celebrated compositions combine figuration with abstraction, an interest in light and atmosphere, and possess a great sensitivity to time and place. His work remains relevant as it honoured the past, reflected the present, and anticipated the future.

In celebrating the achievements and legacy of Emanuel Phillips Fox, The Len Fox Painting Award 2019 could not find a more befitting recipient than Betty Kuntiwa Pumani’s magnificent landscape Antara 2018, depicting a ceremonial site in the far northwest of South Australia and reflects on the importance of keeping our land healthy and safe.’

Tasmanian artist, Stephen Lees won the Sotheby’s Australia People’s Choice Award for the 2019 Len Fox Painting Award. Stephen’s winning painting South Arm was selected for its intriguing texture and delightful palette. CAM visitors were excited to make their choice, with over 900 votes cast across the entire exhibition.

A record number of entries were received for the 2019 prize. From the pool of 190 works, 48 finalists were selected. The finalists were:

Amanda Marburg; Angela Brennan; Anh Nguyen; Ash Keating; Betty Kuntiwa Pumani; Brendan Nicholl; Christine Wrest-Smith; Claire Kirkup; Clare Leeuwin-Clark; Clive Sinclair; Dani McKenzie; David McLeod; David Moore; Dylan Jones; Ella Smart; Esther Olsson; Geoff Todd AM; George Gittoes; Greg Creek; Helen Cottle; Hilary Jackman; Jacqui Stockdale; Jan McNeil; Jane Grealy; Jesse Dayan; Jo Reitze; Judith Van Heeren; Jules McCue; Juliana Hilton; Kate Shaw; Kenneth Felstead; Liz Stute; Lori Pensini; Lyndell Brown & Charles Green; Lynne Boyd; Mark Howson; Rick Matear; Robert Malherbe; Robert Watson; Sally Ross; Sarah Summers; Seth Birchall; Stieg Persson; Stephen Bush; Stephen Lees; Stephen Pleban; Tony Irving; and, Yvette Coppersmith.

Thank you to everyone who entered.

Administered by the Castlemaine Art Museum (CAM), the Fox Award recognises and promotes the work of Australian artists pursuing the artistic interests and qualities of E. P. Fox. These include:

An engagement with colour and light, particularly within the genres of landscape and figure painting;
Ambitious connections with international developments in art; and,
An interest in travel and an engagement with the cultures of diverse regions and peoples.

As an acquisitive prize, with an exhibition of shortlisted finalists, the Fox Award enhances the exhibition program, art collection and national profile of CAM. Castlemaine Art Museum is honoured to have Geoffrey Smith, Chairman Sotheby’s Australia, as the 2019 judge.

The Fox Award will be made to a painting judged to have addressed the interests of E. P. Fox as an imaginative, inquisitive and worldly artist. The painting may be made in any medium, subject to declared practical limitations. Any style or genre is eligible; however, it is recognised that E. P. Fox is most noted for landscape, figurative and portrait paintings.

The award is funded through a bequest from Mona Fox, managed by the Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum Trust (CAGHM Trust). The value of the award will be AU$50,000 (inclusive of GST).

Betty Kuntiwa Pumani, Antara, 2018, synthetic polymer paint on linen. 2019 Len Fox Painting Award winner
Stephen Lees, South Arm, 2019 oil on linen

Womindjika Woorineen willam bit
Willam Dja Dja Wurrung Balug
Wokuk mung gole-bo-turoi
talkoop mooroopook

Welcome to our homeland,
home of the Dja Dja Wurrung people
we offer you people good spirit.
Uncle Rick Nelson

The Jaara people of the Dja Dja Wurrung are the Custodians of the land and waters on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the Elders past, present and emerging. We extend these same sentiments to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations peoples.

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