Bird on the street: National Art Prize Winner Announced

A 2-metre tall charcoal drawing of a wedge-tailed eagle has soared in to win the inaugural Girra: Fraser Coast National Art Prize.

The $25,000 acquisitive prize has been awarded to Western Australian artist Anna Louise Richardson for her work I asked for a sign (wedge-tailed eagle), a large-scale charcoal drawing on cement fibreboard.

Ms Richardson’s work centres around drawing and rendering realistic scenes that speak strongly to her experience of rural life as a member of a multigenerational farming family.

Her winning creation was part of a body of work developed after her mother’s death.

Ms Richardson encountered birds of prey during this time, sensing they were visits by her late mother.

Fraser Coast Regional Councillor David Lewis said it was exciting to see the work which will now be added to the Council’s art collection.

“Council has a commitment to building, maintaining and sharing a Fine Art Collection of State significance,” he said.

“It is incredible that the Fraser Coast National Art Prize received 274 entries from across Australia in its inaugural year.

“The quality of submissions has been outstanding, and I believe this art prize has a strong future.”

The work was selected from a shortlist of eighteen artists from across the country by a panel of judges, including artist and Associate Professor, University of Queensland Dr Fiona Foley, Director of University of Queensland Art Museum Peta Rake and Director of Hervey Bay Regional Gallery Ashleigh Whatling.

Ms Whatling said two highly commended awards were also issued due to the incredible calibre of works entered.

“Ryan Andrew Lee’s work Wonnarua and Lucy Quinn’s Diatom II were also so exceptional we felt it was important to recognise them,” she said.

“Girra tells a compelling story about our relationship to the environment through the diverse perspectives and aesthetic approaches of 18 exciting artists from across Australia.

“For Fraser Coast residents and visitors, there has never been a better time to explore the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery and what we have on offer.”

The Girra: Fraser Coast National Art Prize finalists’ exhibition is on display at the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery until 12 November 2023.

The gallery is open Tuesdays – Fridays, 10am – 4pm, and on weekends, 10am – 2pm.


Girra: Fraser Coast National Art Prize draws its name from the Butchulla word for sand, a vital component of the region’s landscape.

As a title, Girra is both emblematic of the Fraser Coast region and a conceptual provocation that encourages artists to consider how their practice relates to the natural environment.

Girra, or sand, forms our saltwater coasts, freshwater riverbeds, and dry desert interior, shaped over millennia by the tides and winds.

Sand forms the foundation of our cities, mined and rendered into concrete or melted into glass. A ubiquitous presence in the Australian landscape, sand reveals the sensitive, cyclical, and reciprocal relationship between people and place.

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