Ayman Kaake announced as the winner of the 2022 Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award.
"It's no secret that the last few years have brought with them a number of challenges. Challenges that have tested most of us without discretion, and many that have been felt more deeply by members of our LGBTQI+ communities.
Through these trying times, our communities have given rise to artists who have used their creativity and skill to make artworks that are bold, vulnerable, inspiring and insightful." - Words from the curator, Aamer Ahmed
Since its inauguration in 2016 the Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award has quickly established itself as an important award in the ecology of the arts. With finalists selected from across the country, the non-acquisitive annual award is a survey of outstanding queer artists working across mediums reflecting their potent personal and political perspectives on the world. MAPAA is "a platform for uplifting the voices of these artists. Artists who have been able to lament on the interpersonal issues and disconnection our communities have faced through lockdowns. As well as pull focus to issues that continue to hinder us all; hypocrisy, climate change, and prejudice, to name a few." (Aamer Ahmed)
This year's Major Award - a $6000 cash prize, was awarded to Ayman Kaake for his mixed media work Ar, presented by Australia Post EGM Customer & Commercial and PostPride Executive Sponsor Gary Starr and Midsumma CEO Karen Bryant.
Born in Tripoli, Lebanon, Ayman Kaake travelled to Australia in 2011 in pursuit of studying visual arts, leaving behind his parents and eleven siblings as he set off on his artistic journey. He uses his imagination to create a dreamlike world, documenting feelings and emotions, inspired by his move to Australia, stories he’s been told, people he has lost and the confronting themes of refugee-inspired stories. Ayman says,
"I am humbled and thrilled to be displaying my work alongside amazing artists in the biggest queer art competition at Midsumma Festival. Working with our curator Aamer Ahmad and No Vacancy team was a magical experience. I want to thank Australia Post and the judges for selecting my work as a winner, it's such an honour."
In addition to the Major Award, finalists also have the opportunity to win the Bundoora Art Prize and the People's Choice Award. This year, the Bundoora Art Prize Award, which comes with a paid residency or exhibition opportunity at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, was awarded to Malaysian Chinese artist Jack Lee for their work titled It's Just a Preference. Jack says,
"The recognition of my work ‘It's just A Preference’ has been a humbling and reaffirming experience. The opportunity to bring focus to issues that I explore within my art practice is invaluable. I am both encouraged and inspired to be able to present my work alongside that of the talented and diverse artists at the exhibition. Thank you to Midsumma for providing a platform to showcase our works and to Bundoora Homestead for being a continuous supporter."
Taking home the People's Choice Award is Marce King for their work 'Neophobia'. Winning a $1000 cash prize, the win was well deserved with Marce recieving an overwhelming 43.4% of the total votes.
"The series is about finding yourself, gaining insight, clarity and focus of who you are as a person and where you fit in the world. The work focuses on the journey that people in the LGBTQIA+ community go through to understand their sexuality, gender, identity and the search for a sense of belonging and acceptance."
Words from the curator, Aamer Ahmed,
"This year's selection has been an outstanding example of fearless expression. They have inspired connection amongst us through conversation and reflection, and curating the exhibition has been a true pleasure. Thank you to Australia Post and to all the artists who submitted their works, and to the artists looking to make submissions for next year, I encourage you to be just as fearless. Because in the absence of fear are things much more valuable, and worth sharing."