Flaunting it: The 2019 Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize

Joanna Braithwaite,  Bold and the Beautiful,  2019, oil on canvas, 137 x 121cm; courtesy the artist and Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney

Joanna Braithwaite, Bold and the Beautiful, 2019, oil on canvas, 137 x 121cm; courtesy the artist and Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney

‘If you’ve got it, flaunt it,’ said artist Joanna Braithwaite on accepting the 2019 Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize last Friday night in Sydney. She was referring to the subject of her winning painting: a fierce-eyed cassowary which flaunts a hat brimming with palpably trilling budgies and rainbow lorikeets.

Ravenswood alumnus and artist Jennifer Turpin, one of the prize’s three female judges, praised the richness and precision of Braithwaite’s rendering, which ‘draws our attention to the importance of biodiversity, the rights of animals and the joy of bestowing them with compassion and care’.

In the emerging category, Chris Casali was singled out from a record 1200 entries for her Mutawintji Dreaming, a dizzingly detailed and staggeringly skilful watercolour of graphite on silvery Yupo paper. ‘An intriguing shimmering dreamscape,’ Turpin opined, ‘this complex work conjures the space of the imagination.’ And befitting for Australia’s richest female art prize; the exhibition is currently on view at Ravenswood’s Centenary Centre in Gordon until 9 June.

Michael Fitzgerald, Sydney