I have found it a great thing to see an artist who I have recommended to enter for a major competition, being actually hung. Sometimes it can be the launch pad for their whole career by being seen in a prominent museum or nationally recognized gallery as part of one of these prizes. The fact is you have to enter in order to have the possibility of being hung all of even possibly winning.

I know in my own case, when I won the “Wynne Prize” at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in many ways it was a very similar story. My gallery director at that time in Sydney, whose name was Ali, initially made the suggestion to me that I enter this very prestigious annual award for landscape and sculpture depicting landscape. I think the first time that I met Ali to discuss my having an exhibition with her she mentioned that I should enter this prize. At the time I don’t think I would have imagined that I would have had a chance, but she persevered mentioning it to me repeatedly until I asked for the entry forms from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, paid the fees and arranged for the artworks to be sent from the exhibition at Ali’s “Arthouse Galleries” to be a part of the “Wynne Prize” contenders. Over the following weeks I saw my work “Thong Totems” being first shortlisted as a finalist for this prize and on the announcement day to my shock and absolute joy I heard my name being called out as the eventual winner. I will always be in debt and extremely grateful to Ali for supporting my entry into this award.

Following winning this particular prize, I then went on to enter this and other prestigious national and international prizes on a yearly basis and found myself being shortlisted as a finalist many times and even winning other significant prizes. So I have no hesitation in supporting other people to jump through the hoop of self-doubt as well, as it can bring huge gains to your career as well as some well-earned financial rewards.

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