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Tables turned to win top art prize

News story

Lugging 12 camping tables on a road trip from Perth to Geraldton along the Indian Ocean Drive was the core inspiration for a Curtin University Art lecturer’s winning art work.

Dr Susanna Castleden, winner of the 2013 Bankwest Art Prize.
Dr Susanna Castleden, winner of the 2013 Bankwest Art Prize.

Dr Susanna Castleden, Print Media Studio Coordinator at Curtin’s department of Art, has won the 2013 Bankwest art prize – with her mixed media art work on 12 bolted vinyl camp top tables.

The Bankwest Art prize, established in 2001 and worth $30,000, is considered to be one of the most prestigious and generous art competitions in Western Australia.

Dr Castleden’s work titled Camping Continuum (Indian Ocean Drive WA) was chosen from 19 WA finalists and will now be part of the Bankwest art collection.
Out of 109 applicants, 19 artists were shortlisted as finalists, which included Curtin staff and alumni, Nicole Slatter, Thea Costantino, Juha Tolonen and Tom Muller.

The winning piece, part of Dr Castleden’s PhD thesis project, was inspired by her personal travel stories.

“I grew up travelling a lot as a kid, which is why I think my PhD was particularly focused on ways which you can visualise travel,” Dr Castleden said.

“In this series of works I was looking at how to capture that sense of caravanning and travelling in an Australian way,”

“The camping tables themselves have the evidence of movement and travel on them because they have scratches, dents and tears,” she said.

“I started to draw on the surface of them imagery associated with caravans and being a great nomad and being around the country.”

Sandra Murray, the Bankwest exhibition curator said this year’s exhibition was of a high standard.

“Our judges deliberated for a long time before selecting the winner”, she said.

“All the finalists’ works feature exceptional qualities and the variety of sizes reflected artists embracing more freedom of scale allowed in this year’s prize.”
Ms Murray said the winning piece stood out as it reflected Australian childhood, camping and caravanning.

Camping Continuum (Indian Ocean Drive WA) by Dr Susanna Castleden, winner of the 2013 Bankwest Art Prize Camping Continuum (Indian Ocean Drive WA) by Dr Susanna Castleden, winner of the 2013 Bankwest Art Prize

Dr Castleden, a Curtin Alumni, thanked the University in her acceptance speech for their ongoing support for her art practice and teaching career.

“I acknowledge Curtin for the six months leave that I had, not only to finish my PhD but to make a piece of work like that, is so time consuming,” she said.

After completing a seven year long PhD at RMIT University, Dr Castleden hopes to showcase her work in Perth and continue supervising future PhD students.

“I would like to try and show the body of work that I exhibited in Melbourne for my PhD, I’d like to show it in Perth as a body of work,” Dr Castleden said.

The Bankwest exhibition will be open to the public at the Bankwest Art Gallery until March 2014.