Artwork purchase draws on the city’s renowned collection Rockhampton Regional Council

Posted on September 12, 2022

Rockhampton’s nationally significant art collection has been bolstered by the acquisition of five new works of art, all funded by philanthropic donations.

All works purchased were entries into The Gold Award 2022.Topping the list is the prize-winning artwork, Wendy Sharpe’s Circus Banner Self Portrait in Purple Skirt 2021.

Additionally, four works by artists Noŋgirrŋa Marawili, Ian Smith, Gordon Hookey and Euan Macleod have been purchased by 2022 Patron Program Gold Award donors.

The Gold Award was established in 2012 after a significant bequest to the Rockhampton Art Gallery Trust by the late Moya Gold. The biennial prize is an acquisitive art prize funded by interest from the Moya Gold Bequest.

The 2022 Gold Award Patronage Program was created to enable the purchase of Gold Award artwork. Twenty patrons, individuals and local businesses, financed the latest purchases.

Rockhampton Regional Council’s Communities and Heritage Portfolio spokesperson, Cr Drew Wickerson, praised the generosity of donors.

“I would like to pay tribute to the vision and legacy of Moya Gold whose substantial bequest continues to enable the Rockhampton Museum of Art to undertake this premier Australian art prize,” he said.

“I would also like to thank the individual donors of the 2022 Gold Award Patronage Program who regularly contribute to this Gold Award Acquisition Fund, helping to strengthen our nationally significant collection,” he said.

Leonie Gray, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Rockhampton Museum of Art Philanthropy, said: “The greatest joy of being a patron of the Gold Award is knowing that you are part of the rich tapestry of philanthropy that has shaped and will continue to shape and develop the collection of the Rockhampton Museum of Art; a collection that will be enjoyed and cherished by the community now and for generations to come.

About the works

Circus Banner Self Portrait in Purple Skirt 2021, by Wendy Sharpe is the 2022 winner of the Gold Award. Sharpe’s painting is a humorous, self-deprecating image of the artist herself in the style of a circus attraction.

Baratjala 2020 by highly respected Yolŋu Elder Noŋgirrŋa Marawili is a stunning bark painting that uses line and dot patterns to depict the natural elements of a coastal place of her childhood in Eastern Arnhem Land.

Across and down fig 2021 by Ian Smith, although appearing as an abstract composition, depicts the overwhelming tangle of vines and roots typical of the giant fig trees of tropical North Queensland, where Smith grew up.

Highly Commended Award Winner, Gordon Hookey’s Burke and Wills 2021, offers a humorous lesson in the importance of Indigenous knowledge. Artist Waanyi has painted a satirical version of the legend of titular 19th-century explorers Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills, who starved to death in what the artist describes as “a land of plenty”.

by Euan Macleod Esplanade (after Arone) 2021 refers to the artists friend, prolific and charismatic artist from Cairns, Arone Meeks, whose untimely death last year left a significant void in many hearts. Here it strides larger than life along the city’s waterfront.

Moya Gold’s generous bequest (1928-2000) to the Rockhampton Museum of Art Gift Fund led to the development of the Gold Award, a biennial, acquisitive art prize celebrating Australia’s finest painters at the height of their careers. Moya was a philanthropist, teacher and lover of the arts whose bequest is dedicated to the purchase of Australian paintings for the collection of the Rockhampton Museum of Art. Thanks to the Gold Award, Australia’s finest practicing artists, including Ben Quilty, Del Kathryn Barton, Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, Michael Zavros, Imants Tillers and Richard Bell, have been added to what has become a nationally significant collection.