August 7 - 13, 2022: Issue 549


2022 Environmental Art & Design Prize Winners Announced

Avalon Beach based Artist Joanna Gambotto standing in front of 1152 still images that compile her winning animation Common thread Photo: © Karen Watson/NBC

The winners of nine categories of the Northern Beaches Environmental Art & Design Prize were announced at the Manly Art Gallery and Museum on Friday August 5th by Dr Michael Mossman.  This year the Prize has a prize pool of over $40,000 and the exhibition showcasing the finalists opened today across three galleries on the northern beaches.

Over six hundred and forty artists and designers from across Australia applied to have their work exhibited and compete for this non-acquisitive prize.  A team of highly experienced art and design curators viewed all work and chose those privileged to be exhibited.

Of the 212 finalists there are 54 Young Artists and Designers across the age categories: 7–12 years and 13–18 years.

The Brief for the exhibition was for artists and designers to reflect on our environment and respond to the crucial issues facing us and our climate, making work that brings meaning and relevance.

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said “Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Environmental Art & Design Prize whose incredible works were chosen from a very strong field. The passion for our environment and the challenge our planet faces is evident through all the works and I’m pleased we are able to showcase such talent from around Australia here on the Northern Beaches.”

The esteemed external judging panel of leading creative practitioners and thinkers assessed the finalist works and award category prize winners. This year the panel includes: Dr Michael Mossman, a Kuku Yalanji man and Lecturer, University of Sydney School of Architecture Design & Planning; Australian Artist, Janet Laurence; and Kit Willow a leading Australian luxury fashion designer.

Dr Mossman said: “Connecting with country is a really foundational quality of how I practice architecture and what I teach.  That connection of people, their different expertise and skills is where we can bring critical mass to issues of environment.”

Janet Laurence said: “Art is a wonderful way to bring the public’s attention to climate change issues.  Using data and information from scientists, artists can create compelling, new ways of sharing information and stories, which is absolutely necessary for people to really care and to be driven to act.”

Kit Willow said: “I strongly believe in a better world, through the simple mantra of making women look and feel beautiful, without harming our planet, so everyone can win.”

The People’s Choice Awards will be announced on 27 August. 

The exhibition entry, now available across three venues, is free. 

The winners this year are:

Pattie Beerens - Dwelling

Clay, Saltbush berries, cotton fibre, 45 x 52 x 38cm 

Artist statement

Pattie Beerens creates living entanglements of relations as art. Hers is an experimental art practice exploring how the western human nature duality can be reconstructed in the mind by ‘working with’ rather than ‘doing to’ materials of the world.  By sharing her love of clay earth - in collaborative performances of weaving, Pattie creates conversations about relating as kin, respect, and collaborative survival. 

Dwelling (a verb), invites viewers to imagine processes in the world around them of weaving, hiding, inhabiting, and cocooning as part of nature. Made with clay respectfully collected from a mine site on Wadawurrung Country and coloured with fermenting local Saltbush berries, Dwelling forms as an ephemeral trace of becoming in the world.  The clay is unfired and will be returned to the earth. 

Judges’ comments

We like how this work speaks to the circularity of nature.  This work comes out of nature and will return to nature and the web-like ephemeral nature of the work evokes a labyrinth structure.  It feels like the work is ‘taking a line for a walk’. The work has a sense that it could keep on growing.

Highly Commended:

CATRIONA POLLARD - Hidden deep in the forest the faeries sleepMuehlenbeckia vine, 200 x 40 x 40cm

FLEUR SCHELL - Making room for the wildlifePorcelain, wire and cement, 68 x 200 x 25cm      

Pattie Beerens with Dwelling. Photo: © Karen Watson/ NBC

Joanna Gambotto - Common thread

Video, 2:38mins and sculptural form

Artist statement

There is a common thread that runs through all life on our planet. Its origins date back to the beginning of time, assembled over millennia from elements forged in the furnaces of stars; a DNA molecule. The similarities in DNA across all species speak of our common ancestry and reveal the oneness of the universe and equality of all species, all playing a crucial role in the cosmic clockwork. The red thread that weaves through this animation represents a DNA molecule and symbolises life on Earth in all its diversity. The sound of a heartbeat signifies the relentless force of life and its power to prevail. The ill-treatment of our home, however, poses danger to life on our planet - a common threat. 

The 1152 still images that compile the animation have been joined together to create a form reminiscent of a DNA strand. It becomes a metaphor for how the complexity of life stems from countless tiny building blocks and how our actions as individuals, seemingly small and insignificant, can contribute to the greater good, or greater bad.

Avalon Beach based Artist Joanna was a recipient of a 2020 Northern Beaches Council Creative Communities Support Grant and featured as Council's October 2020 'Local Creative'. An interview with the Artists runs here:

Her solo exhibition, ‘Interior Worlds - Hill End(Opens in a new window)’ at Manly Art Gallery & Museum from Oct 23 – Nov 29, 2020. Joanna  was born in Poland and moved to Australia in 2007, completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at the National Art School in 2013. More here:

Eliza Connolly - Oysterware

oystershell waste, sodium alginate, water, 2 x 50 x 30cm

Artist statement

Working within a circular economy, Oysterware investigates the re-purposing of local shell waste from the seafood industry to create functional tableware. 

The objects consist of three natural materials: oyster shell waste, water, and sodium alginate, a natural polymer extracted from brown algae. 

When the calcium carbonate found within the shell waste combines with the water and sodium alginate, it creates a clay-like paste that naturally hardens and can then be used to form and shape objects, including plates and bowls. After use, the tableware can be reconstituted into the paste for remodelling simply by adding water, creating a re-use cycle. Alternatively, with Oysterware holding soil improvement benefits, the made objects can be sustainably disposed of in compost bins. Oysterware aims to transform the value of waste resources into critical materials, creating a functional cycle of consumption, waste production, object manufacture and re-use.

Julia Davis and Jane Sheldon - To the heart: a calling

4K video, stereo sound 12:39 minutes

Artist statement

To The Heart is the first in a collaborative series between multidisciplinary artist, Julia Davis and soprano composer, Jane Sheldon. We strive to make connections between humanity and the physical realm; where our sense of self and place is formed by the intangible forces of a world in flux and reflects upon the relationship between human and ecological fragility.  Water is a reoccurring subject. 'Being there' is integral to the work. To The Heart was filmed from a small boat, kilometres off the Southernmost tip of the Tasmanian coast, from an altitude of 150 meters. 

In the audio, Jane Sheldon responds to the video imagery by bringing rhythms of the ocean's immense power into a dialogue with the rhythms of the body. Using breath, she invites extreme intimacy while also suggesting the body's belonging to nature. We aim to bring these rhythms of humanity and nature into sublime proximity.

Highly Commended

JANE BAMFORD - Ceramic Little Penguin nesting modulehandmade coil-built stoneware clay fired, partial white satin glazed exterior and black underglaze in lid cavity, 38 x 38 x 55cm

Julia Davis and Jane Sheldon before their work - To the heart: a calling. Photo: © Karen Watson/ NBC

Thomas Thorby-Lister - Untitled (Border)

Acrylic and oil stick on linen, 76 x 112 x 3cm

Artist statement

This painting focuses on an area of National Park that borders the ACT and NSW, the Namadgi National Park, belonging to the Nyamudy/Namadgi people.  Using government data, 3D models and generative mapping to research the topography of the region, I've painted this aerial landscape to highlight the ecological disaster that occurred here in the Black Summer fires of 2020. The Namadgi National Park occupies almost 50% of the total landmass of the ACT. 

The fire burned 82,700 ha of the National Park (about 80 per cent of the total park area), making it one of the biggest ecological disasters in ACT's history. Fires destroyed almost half of the ACT during this climate disaster. A military helicopter accidentally ignited the fire.  I hope this work brings a focus to the importance of our natural landscape and the impact it faces due to critical changes to the world's climate.

Highly Commended:

JENNIFER MULLEN - Shrike-tit; oil on wood panel, 22 x 22 x 18cm

Alia Parker - My constellation jacket

Cotton textile waste, mushroom mycelium (Ganoderma steyaertanum), cotton drill fabric, 80 x 80 x 20cm

Artist statement

My constellation Jacket utilises a critical bio-design approach in the production of a modular wearable design. Discarded cotton clothing damaged beyond repair has been broken down into fibre, before being re-processed into textile sheets by using paper-making techniques. These textile planes have then been introduced to a wood-loving species of fungi. The mushroom mycelium has grown across and through the textile waste, binding the cotton fibres together in the process. The agency and expressivity of the white fungal networks look like constellations and can be seen on the surface of the material, contrasted against the recycled black textile waste. 

This work contemplates the careful conditions required when working across the species divide. Fungi are incredibly adaptive organisms that are prone to boredom. They require familiar and reliable nutrients and conditions, as well as creative gustatory challenges. Therefore, practicing care for - and with - fungi in multispecies collaborative contexts, requires an attentive approach to experimentation to support the organism to flourish.

Alia Parker with My constellation jacket. Photo: © Karen Watson/ NBC

Belinda Fox - The light crept in

Etching, watercolour, pencil, acrylic spray stencil, graphite, 102 x 200cm 

Artist statement

I have used the Raven in my work for many years. It is a bird I have a deep connection to. It is a watcher of human frailty, perhaps a bemused onlooker, I always wonder what they must think of our species. No matter where I am in this vast world, the Raven is there adapting and scrutinising our foibles and forever reminding me of my responsibility to this planet that we have so much power to preserve or destroy. 

My path is connected to its path, and we must be mindful to all of nature. It is sometimes easy to overlook the common, but for me the Raven is extraordinary and this drawing is a homage to their truth telling and place in this precious world. 


Camilo Budet Trescott - The generation of peace and hope

Photograph, 100 x 150cm

Artist statement

For lots of people in the world waterbirds symbolize peace and hope. Origami is a beautiful and peaceful art that I practice every day. I made the smallest paper crane I possibly could from a tiny scrap of recycled paper, and photographed it cradled in my hands. My photo shows how important it is to look after our waterbirds because they are in danger. My wish is that my generation works together to look after nature and help to restore the habitat and populations of the waterbirds around the world.

Dian Jiao - Circle of life

marker pens on paper, 30 x 42cm

Artist statement

This illustration’s meaning is to show the danger of the environment. The treasure surrounding the trees represents that nature has something important to offer, but unfortunately humanity has ultimately destroyed much of the beauty in it, as portrayed through the skull. The eyes staring on the trees serve to personify the environment, and the patterns explain the beauty of nature. The hole in the middle shows how deep you can go in nature without going back.

Laura McClellan - Jeremy

Acrylic on card, 26x 34cm

Artist statement

This is Jeremy the bandicoot. Bandicoots are important to the environment because they help soil production. If we lost bandicoots it would have a negative effect on plant diversity, composition of species and structure of forests and woodlands. Jeremy is a reminder of why bandicoots are very important to the ecosystem and must be protected.

Isabel Wade - Souper bird (Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird!)

Photography / graphic design, print on satin paper, 84 x 59cm

Artist statement

My name is Isabel and I really enjoy birdwatching. I took this photo of a Sooty Tern at Lord Howe Island. These seabirds are superheroes, undertaking an annual migration of almost 20,000km! My inspiration came from an artist I studied at school - Andy Warhol. I added the Rosella soup as an Australian-bird twist to Warhol’s Campbell soup series. 

I really like the bold colours, which I thought matched the carefree and inquisitive Tern as it danced on the wind above me. When it came to naming my work, I thought of calling it ‘Plastic Soup’ as I know seabirds are eating the plastic that floats around in the oceans with devastating effect. Even at remote Lord Howe Island plastic washes up on the beaches and is found inside birds’ stomachs. In the end, I decided to focus on how amazing these birds are, and I hope they have a bright future - because one good Tern deserves another.

Highly Commended

ZOE MASON - Lost platypusacrylic paint, pencil, 20 x 20cm

LUCY HARTMAN - Karak - the rain bringerpen, ink and watercolour paint, 29 x 40cm


Ella McGaw - Cumulative Grief

Charcoal, earth, clay, pages of research, acrylic paint, pastel, carbon transfer, 191 x 107cm

Artist statement

My body of work documents my exploration of the continued loss inflicted by Australia’s climate-induced extreme weather events. My intent was to understand how this devastation of species, ecosystems, and the land have become insignificant, layered below conflicting human narratives surround climate change. I pulped materials from the fires and floods - charcoal, earth, clay, pages of research, newspaper articles - into paper, tonally recreating our changing landscape - black for the still charred areas, orange for the washed away earth. The resulting material tangibly represented my concept, where I could see all the conflicting narratives entangled in patterns reflecting our flooded rivers. 

Kiara Underwood - Disconnection, destruction, extinction

Oil on canvas, 162 x 11cm

Artist statement

My artwork aims to show the immense power nature has over humans. Through my dramatic representation of nature taking back the earth, I want to create both an appreciation for it and a fear of what will happen if we continue destroying it. The small details on the road signs aim to provide hope in between all the chaos, panic, and destruction, to show the audience that while we are treading a thin line, there are solutions that could allow us to live in harmony with nature. 

The ominous green colour, of the threatening stormy sky further enforces the idea that we are at a tipping point. The begonia flowers on the far left of the painting are a symbol of caution but also of harmony, a double meaning, giving us both a warning and a spark of hope about our relationship with nature.

Highly Commended

MEERA NIRMALENDRAN - Have you seen the black cockatoo, feathers glistening blue in the harsh summer sun?, coloured pencil on recycled paper, 65 x 47cm

JEREMY ROTENSTEIN - Ethics in a bindpencil on wood board, 46 x 61cm

Venue Information:

For additional information please visit Council's website

Creative Open Program Highlights

Launch event: Happy Hour @ MAG&M
Fri 12 Aug, 5-8pm

Experience art, sounds, and words while you soak up the 2022 Environmental Art & Design Prize. Hear from fashion industry leaders as they discuss their practices, sustainability, and the slow fashion movement.
Venue: Manly Art Gallery & Museum
Cost: FREE, bookings not required

Open Studios
Sat 13, Sun 14 and Sat 20, Sun 21 Aug, 10am – 3pm

Go behind the scenes and discover the diverse range of artists and makers that call the Northern Beaches home; from designers, candle makers, painters, printmakers and sculptors to digital artists, jewellery makers, ceramicists, furniture makers, woodturners and more.
Venue: across the Northern Beaches 
Cost: FREE, bookings not required

Meet the Artists/Designers
Sat 13 Aug 2 – 3pm at Manly Art Gallery & Museum
Sat 20 Aug, 2 – 3pm at Mona Vale Pop Up Gallery
Hear from exhibiting artists and designers about their works, inspirations and creative processes in this fast-paced program moving around the 2022 Environmental Art & Design Prize exhibition spaces. 
Cost: FREE, bookings not required

Makers Takeover
Sat 13 Aug, 10am – 3pm 

Local makers and designers take over the library with all things handmade including weaving, jewellery, ceramics, textiles, small artworks and homewares. Discover something unique and shop local at the Makers Takeover.
Venue: Manly Library
Cost: FREE, bookings not required

Weaving on the lawn with Ngumpie Weaving
Sat 14 Aug, 10am – 12pm TBC

Drop by and learn traditional weaving techniques with Tegan Murdock from Ngumpie Weaving.
Venue: Grass lawn in front of Manly Art Gallery & Museum
Cost: FREE, bookings not required

Element Ensemble soundscapes
Sat 13 Aug, 7-8pm 

Immerse yourself in soundscapes and visual projections inspired by the local environment created by Element Ensemble, a three-piece improvisational music group.
Venue: Curl Curl Creative Space
Cost: Ticketed, bookings required

Slow making demonstrations
Sat 13 & Sun 14 Aug, various times

Kelli Stanbury (9R) and Ursula Kirby (Live Simply Ceramics) share the traditional processes of their slow craft practices, including hand stitching with leather, hand building and pottery wheel throwing.
Venue: Curl Curl Creative Space
Cost: FREE, bookings not required

Shuffle Studio installations
Sat 13 Aug, 4pm - midnight

Awaken your senses with this immersive audio-visual installation featuring motion sensors and real-time graphics designed and installed by Tony Funiciello (Aureal).
Venue: Shuffle Studio Brookvale 
Cost: Ticketed TBC, Bookings required

Monoprint workshops
Sat 13 Aug, 11am – 2pm & Sun 14 Aug, 1 – 3.30pm

Join artist Frankie Morgan at the Art Bau table for a class in mono-printing, learn techniques and tricks of the trade to create your own original one-off prints.
Venue: Art Bau, Brookvale
Cost: Ticketed, bookings required

Q&A booth: Publishing and writing
Sat 13 Aug, individual session times between 10am – 4pm

Meet, interrogate and ask your questions about writing, editing, publishing, book layout designs, and much more at these writing & publishing mentoring consultations with local award-winning author Zena Shapter.
Venue: Harry Hartog Booksellers
Cost: Ticketed, bookings required

HAKE House of Art
Sat 13 & Sun 14 Aug 10am-4pm

Lots to explore at the HAKE House of Art, a double story loft home to a range of multidisciplinary creative businesses from bespoke framing to painters, photographers and fashion designers.
Venue: HAKE House of Art, Dee Why
Cost: FREE, bookings not required

Still-life painting with Joanna Gambotto
Sat 13 Aug, 11am-4.30pm & Sun 14 Aug, 10am-4pm

Breathe some life into your still-life! Artist Joanna Gambotto will guide you through a 2-day painting workshop sharing skills to reinvigorate your painting practice. Suitable for beginners and experienced painters.
Venue: Forest Community Arts Centre
Cost: Ticketed, bookings required

Underground Art Space – studios and workshops
Sat 13 & Sun 14 Aug, 10am – 4pm

Ticketed workshops at various times
Refill your creative cup at the Underground Art Space, exploring artist studios, participating in workshops and getting to know the artists in residence.
Venue: Sydney Road, Balgowlah
Cost: FREE to visit, bookings required for ticketed workshops

Batch Studio
Sat 13 & Sun 14 Aug, various times

Batch Studios are opening their doors, inviting you to see the processes behind their craft, with demonstrations showing you how to cast a sterling silver ring, using ancient sand casting techniques.
Venue: Batch Studios, Freshwater
Cost: Ticketed, bookings required

Zine making workshop
Sun 14 Aug, 1 – 3.30pm

Learn the skills to start self-publishing your own zine’s with artist Kat Shultz. Covering collage, printmaking, drawing and incorporating text in the design. All materials provided.
Venue: Manly Creative Library
Cost: Ticketed, bookings required

The Metaverse and NFTs
Wed 17 Aug, 6-8pm

Curious to know more about how art crosses over into technology and finance? Want to discover the world of NFTs (non-fungible tokens)? Here’s your place to start, with a presentation and conversation led by NFT/Metaverse experts Simo Leonelli, Sam Joel, Nick Bishop, and Mark Monfort.
Venue: Manly Art Gallery & Museum
Cost: FREE, bookings required

Baha’i Temple tours
Sat 20 & Sun 21 Aug, 10am-12pm

Spend your morning discovering the Baha’i House of Worship with an open tour of this distinct architectural landmark.
Venue: Baha’I Temple House of worship, Mona Vale 
Cost: FREE, bookings not required

Zen Garden open weekend
Sat 20 & Sun 21 Aug, 10am-4pm

Purify your mind with the tranquillity of a Japanese garden visit and experience the rich culture of Japan with a Tea Ceremony.
Venue: Oriental grove, Terrey Hills
Cost: Ticketed, bookings required for Tea Ceremony

Rex Dupain exhibition
Sat 20 Aug, 12 - 4pm, opening drinks 2-4pm 

A household name in Australian photography, Rex Dupain is exhibiting a new collection of works.  Known for juxtaposing the built environment with the natural beauty that surrounds it the new work continues this theme to create an inspiring look at modern life.
Venue: Michael Reid Northern Beaches, Newport 
Cost: FREE, no bookings required