$50,000 Rio Tinto Sculpture Award goes to Indian artist


Harsha Vardhan Durugadda takes home the prize for his Column of Sound

The $50,000 Rio Tinto Sculpture Award, the most generous award for sculpture in Western Australia, has been given to Harsha Vardhan Durugadda from India for Column of Sound.

The award was announced on 3 March by Chris Salisbury, chief executive of Rio Tinto’s Iron Ore group, at the opening of the 13th annual Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe.

For the second year, the $50,000 acquisitive award will be gifted by Rio Tinto, the Principal Partner of the exhibition, for permanent public placement in Western Australia.

Durugadda was born in Andhra Pradesh, India and is currently based in New Delhi. Column of Sound is based on the visual dynamics of an audio wave. This is Durugadda’s first Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe exhibition, having received the Andrea Stretton Memorial Invitation from Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2016.

Chris Salisbury, chief executive of Rio Tinto’s Iron Ore group said, “Rio Tinto is pleased to continue our support of Sculpture by the Sea in 2017, a partnership we embarked on last year, in our 50th anniversary year of shipping iron ore from the Pilbara. Such events like Sculpture by the Sea play an important role in creating a sense of place and encouraging social participation.”

Founding Director of Sculpture by the Sea, David Handley, AM said, “This is a wonderful work by a fabulous and imaginative artist. It is exceptionally hard and adventurous for an artist to exhibit from overseas, with the added costs and logistics. He is also a very nice bloke and this award will be a major step in what I believe will be a great career.”

This year, with support from Tourism WA, the exhibition brings two of the world’s most renowned sculptors to Western Australia—Zadok Ben-David (Israel/England) and Sir Tony Cragg RA (England), both of whom are exhibiting in Sculpture by the Sea, for the first time.

Mayor of Cottesloe Town Jo Dawkins also announced the recipient of The Western Australian Sculptor Scholarship of $10,000, which was awarded to Denise Pepper from Bayswater, WA for Leaden Heart. This scholarship, donated by Gavin Bunning and Julienne Penny since 2013, provides funds for the artist’s study, travel and the advancement of their career, together with an invitation to exhibit at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2017 this October.

Denise Pepper said she was extremely proud to be a recipient of the Western Australian Sculptor Scholarship and thrilled to be recognised for her work. I believe this is a strong work and particularly its concept of the convict tokens highlighting sad but intimate stories. I look forward to utilising the scholarship associated with this award to take my art practice further,” she added.

The awards were selected by a judging panel of leading figures in the visual arts, which included Dr. Stefano Carboni—Director, Art Gallery of Western Australia and Geoffrey Edwards, former Director, Geelong Gallery, Victoria.

Japanese artist wins Sculpture Inside prize

On 2 March, Sculpture Inside, Sculpture by the Sea’s annual indoor exhibition of small contemporary sculpture began, where Kozo Nishino from Japan was announced as the recipient of Rio Tinto Sculpture Inside Award of $5,000. Now in its 13th year, the exhibition is Perth’s largest free to the public event and runs until 20 March. An estimated 220,000 visitors are expected to flock to Cottesloe to enjoy sculptures by more than 70 local, national and international artists.


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