Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award Submissions
Image: Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award, image by Suzanne Balding ft Leonie Rhodes winning submission 'National Treasure'
Presented by Midsumma Festival and Australia Post
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.
The art award is open nation-wide to artists in any medium, though please take into consideration the current environment in Australia. We encourage anyone in Australia to apply and talk to us if you have any concerns. Finalists' work will be exhibited as part of the subsequent Midsumma Festival (for 2024, between 21 January and 11 February 2024).
Submissions for the 2024 Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award are now OPEN
2023 Award Winners
- Main Award winner: Leonie Rhodes - $6000
- Bundoora Homestead Art Prize Award winner: Logan Mucha - a paid artist development opportunity
- People’s Choice Award winner: Vince Partington - $1,000 provided by Australia Post
Australia's leading queer visual arts award
In its ninth year, this selection of queer artists from across the country showcases their personal and political perspectives of the world.
Midsumma Festival is delighted to present this award and exhibition event as part of our ongoing partnership with Australia Post. Celebrating diversity and inclusion is important to Australia Post. They are committed to supporting their Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer employees and driving positive change to create more inclusiveness not just throughout their workforce but throughout the wider community.
Midsumma Festival 2024: 21 Jan-11 Feb 2024
Submissions open: 15 Aug 2023
Submissions close: 11 Nov 2023
Finalists notified and announced: tbc (December 2023)
Install: 29 January 2024
Exhibition Opening and Awards Announced: 1 February 2024
People's Choice announced: tbc Feb 2024
Exhibition: 30 January-11 February 2024
De-install: 12 February 2024 (Artworks can be collected after the de-install)
The Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award recognises outstanding queer artists who are Australian residents, and:
- are submitting work created in the last two years.
- are submitting original artwork for which they hold the copyright.
- are submitting work not previously exhibited as part of this Art Award.
- were not a Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award winner in 2023.
- are not employees (and the immediate families of employees) of selection committee members, judges, Midsumma Festival or Australia Post staff directly associated with the competition.
- are not relatives of staff on the selection committee or judges.
Works of all mediums and scale will be considered, and artists can submit as many artworks into the competition as they like.
All finalists will be required to:
- exhibit their submitted artwork during Midsumma Festival 2024 at No Vacancy Gallery, QV, 30–40 Jane Bell Lane, Melbourne. See Key Dates.
- install and de-install their artwork as per the Key Dates.
- cover any costs associated with the display of their work (eg. hanging hooks, technical equipment including TV monitors, projectors, speakers etc). Artists should note that Midsumma Festival has limited access to TV monitors and projectors, and that we cannot guarantee that these will be provided.
- pack works and arrange freight to and from the exhibition, if necessary.
- consent to Midsumma Festival and Australia Post publishing the artwork (including photographs) to publicise this competition in connection with the Midsumma Festival or for the purposes of promoting LGBTQIA+ inclusion.
- consent to featuring their work being exhibited in an online virtual tour of the exhibition.
For the purposes of insurance, once artworks are brought into the gallery (No Vacancy), the gallery temporarily takes ownership of the works to ensure it is covered under their contents insurance. Artwork is not insured during transport to and from the exhibition.
Finalists will be selected by Midsumma’s artistic team and will be selected based on artistic merit and overall balance of art forms and artistic content.
All finalists will be notified in December 2023.
Major Prize Determination
The major prize for the 2024 Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award will be awarded to the finalist whose artwork submitted into the competition is determined by the judges that most artistically and creatively reflects the artist’s personal and/or political perspective and which also exhibits a high degree of artistic merit. The winner of the major prize will receive $6,000 (cash).
People’s Choice Winner Determination
The finalists’ artworks will be made available to the public for viewing and voting during Midsumma Festival. Finalists cannot place votes. Voting will be in person at the exhibition, and through an online form if there is a digital presentation of the exhibition. The People’s Choice prize winner will receive $1000 (cash).
Bundoora Homestead Art Prize Award
In partnership with Midsumma Festival, Bundoora Homestead Art Centre is proud to offer a paid residency / exhibition opportunity for the Midsumma and Australia Post Art Prize. The opportunity will be determined in collaboration with the winning artist in order to best support their practice, and will take place within the grounds of Bundoora Homestead Art Centre in 2024.
This is a non-acquisitive art prize. Artists may choose to make their work(s) available for sale through the sales system facilitated by Midsumma Festival. No commissions are taken on artworks sold and Midsumma Festival takes no responsibility for soliciting the sale of artworks.
If sold, artists are responsible for packaging their work ready for transfer of ownership at the conclusion of the exhibition. Failure to do so will incur a $50 packaging fee taken from the sale of the artwork.
Artwork that is not collected by the purchaser within 3 months of the exhibition closing will be returned to the artist. In this instance, ownership of the artwork will transfer back to the artist and the artist will retain the income from the sale (or deposit in the instance that only a deposit was made by the purchaser).
When applying online you will be asked to provide the following information:
- The artist’s name, contact details and other personal information;
- ABN (if applicable) and GST status;
- The title of the artwork submitted;
- The year the artwork was created;
- The medium and dimensions of the artwork;
- The sale price of the artwork (where applicable; including GST if applicable);
- Notes on display of the artwork - please also include any notes on how the artwork could be displayed digitally, there is a high chance the exhibition will have both a physical and digital presence.
- An artist statement for didactic (1200 character limit, including spaces);
- The artist’s CV(maximum one page in length; provided as a weblink);
- A biography of the artist for didactic (1200 character limit, including spaces);
- Images of the artwork- a weblink to a maximum of three (3) high resolution images. This will be used for assessing your application and may be used for promotional purposes. Please utilise a filename with the artist’s full name to allow for easy identification.
- Full-length version of your video or audio work if applicable, as a weblink. Please also provide any applicable passwords. This will be used for assessing your application;
- Headshot of the artist (jpeg format; high resolution) for inclusion on the Midsumma website.
2023 Award Winners
- Main Award - Leonie Rhodes - $6000
- Bundoora Art Prize Award - Logan Mucha - a paid artist development opportunity
- People’s Choice Award - Vince Partington - $1,000 provided by Australia Post
Finalists of the 2023 Midsumma Australia Post Art Prize: Alun Rhys Jones (he/him) | Caleb Hardy (he/him) | Kyle KM (he/him) | Lachlan Purcell (he/she/they) | Leonie Rhodes (Leonie) | Logan Mucha (he/him/they) | Lucy Donovan (they/she) | Margot Stewart (she/her) | Matthew Schiavello (he/him) | Noah Spivak (he/him) | Raphy (he/him) | Sammaneh Pourshafighi (she/he/they) | Sian Harris (she/her) | Vince Partington (he/him)
2023 Judges: Meg Slater (she/they) | Brendan McCleary | Jason May
- 2022 Major Award ($6000 cash prize) - 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.
- Bundoora Art Prize Award (paid residency or exhibition opportunity at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre) - Malaysian Chinese artist Jack Lee for their work titled It's Just a Preference.
- People's Choice Award ($1000 cash prize) - Marce King for their work 'Neophobia'.
Finalists of the 2022 Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award.
Martin John Lee
Acrylic and oil on Belgian linen
Martin John Lee is a multidisciplinary artist based on Jaara country in Castlemaine, Victoria. His practice is predominately installation-based and spans a variety of mediums, including video, mixed-media, painting and textiles. Martin’s work explores the contemporary dynamics and intersections of masculinity, cultural norms and societal expectations. His work riffs off commonplace references and scenarios to create pieces that are as familiar as they are quixotic.
In 2019 Martin completed a Masters of Contemporary Art at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and was awarded the Majlis Encouragement Award at the VCA Graduate Show. He also holds a Graduate Certificate in Visual Art from VCA, 2017, and a Bachelor of Art (Ceramic Design) from Monash University, 1992.
Brass, Emu Feathers, Hemp Brass Black
Ange Jeffery is a Wiradjuri artist who grew up on Country in central west NSW, with Wambul (Macquarie River) having a lasting influence and inspiration in her art practice. Ange has an environmental science background and balances her technical ability with creative pursuits. She is a mixed media artist with a particular interest in jewellery and body adornment.
Ange’s values are represented in her work preferring to use responsibly sourced materials including collected and recycled natural and manmade items. Her work is organic, combining her culture with contemporary techniques and objects.
Never Wanna Forget
Jane Makela is a Canadian raised, Melbourne based designer and ceramic artist. Her ceramic practice uses a distinct and erratic etched surface treatment to investigate themes of grief, doubt, and gender in a world patrolled by patriarchy. A self-effacing perfectionist on the road to reformation, Jane uses contemporary iconography and text to supply viewers with introspective prompts. Reluctantly laying bare her inner monologue of self-doubt and feminist rhetoric, Jane’s work makes space for others to do the same. There is no hiding what is written in stone. Jane began working with ceramics in 2011 while completing a Bachelor of Design at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Her professional experience in Fashion and Television Production have informed her work as a visual storyteller and amplified her interest in the reality of female humanity in conflict with the female body as a politicised object.
Craft, painting, wearable art, photography
Fast Fashun is made up of local queer artists, Tenfingerz, Famous Artist Sebastian Berto, Sarah Seahorse, and Luna Aquatica. They have been collaborating on projects for the past 10 years. Through visually impactful work and audience involvement, they aim to use their combined skillset to create art that is a tool for social change.
Fast Fashun has been presented at NGV Art Book Fair, Melbourne Design Week, Sustainable Living Festival, Be Bold Festival, Gertrude Street Projection Festival, and the Melbourne Fashion Festival’s Art Program 2019-2021.
The project received a 2021 Green Room Award Acknowledgement for Contemporary and Experimental Performance.
Fast Fashun is presented as a digital zine, in-print art book, wearable art collection, and in-person community art installations.
Zephyrus Announcing Spring
Photographic Inkjet Print
Thanh Vuong is a Vietnamese-Australian photographer based in Melbourne. He is a graduate of the Photography Studies College and studied under the tutelage of Hoda Afshar and Daniel Boetker-Smith. In his practice, Vuong explore themes of gender politics and the representation of queer identity, masculinity and the male body. His works draw inspirations from the rich tapestry of homoerotic art and pay tribute to pioneering queer artists who wove the first threads of resistance against censorship and fought bravely for the freedom of personal expression in the LGBTIQA+ community worldwide.
Born in Tripoli, Lebanon, Ayman Kaake travelled to Australia in 2011 in pursuit of studying visual arts. A telecommunications engineer and cinematography graduate, he left behind his parents and eleven siblings as he set off on his artistic journey. Applying his creative vision in photo-imaging and visual arts. In 2015, his passion for cinema and photography eventually developed into a body of visual works. Ayman 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, mostly through his middle-eastern LGBTQIA+ community who have travelled by boat harbouring dreams a better life.
The Gay Agenda Series.
Archival Print on Canson Rag Photographique 310 gsm
Alun Rhys Jones is an Australian-based artist, whose practice focuses on themes related to identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. Recent work has investigated the use of the body, gender and celebrity in a post internet, late capitalist, consumer society.
Alun Rhys Jones graduated with Honours from the National Art School, Sydney in 2011. His work has been exhibited extensively throughout Australia and internationally. Since graduating he has participated in twelve solo exhibitions, more than 30 group shows, and has been shortlisted for over 40 Awards and Prizes.
Alun Rhys Jones has participated in the Takt Kunstprojektraum Artist Residency in Berlin, received the NAVA New South Wales Artists Grant, the NAVA Australia Artists Grant and the William Fletcher Foundation Grant.
Pen and Acrylic Paint on Paper
Marce King was born in Kilmore, Victoria in 1978 and grew up in Bendigo. They then lived in London and Melbourne for many years but currently call Ballarat, Victoria, home. Marce studied a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Latrobe University, graduating with distinction and winning the graduate award. The graduate award was a travel scholarship that allowed Marce to travel through Europe creating art and exploring the world for a number of years. Marce’s first Solo Exhibition was in 2006 at Brunswick Street Gallery, and have had multiple solo shows since in Victoria, and participated in many group shows in Australia, Europe and online.
Marce has always created from a young age, feeling deeply connected to their chosen subject of the human form since early high school. Their style and mediums are mood based and as such can often vary but what remains is expression through mark making. Mark making and energy or restraint through that mark making often takes priority over exact likeness. Another strong aspect of Marce’s work is exploring and visually documenting the lives of the LGBTIQ+ people and community. Their experiences, their lives, and the emotional aspect of their personal journeys. Marce identifies as Transgender and nonbinary so their work also reflects their own personal experience. Marce’s work expresses and challenges gender, identity, belonging and the social constructs around binary identification.
Queers of a Clown Series
Paper Art. Collage
Sydney based, queer collage artist Simon Welsh works in paper for its delicacy and strength. Papers willingness to be transformed, both in form and texture, makes it a perfect medium for Simon to explore his personal narrative and allowing him to capture personal moments of strength and vulnerability. Looking past the obvious forms of beauty, deconstruction and self-reflection of the subject is his process. The challenge is to see beyond the traditional artforms he uses and to relate a new message to a new audience. His work often focuses on the figurative as he believes it allows him to transform his thoughts and ideas into movement. Deconstructing original constraints to recontextualise his ideas.
It’s Just a Preference
Digital Artwork on screen or projection
Jack Lee - I am a Malaysian Chinese artist and architect based in Naarm/ Melbourne. My practice spans from architectural projects to drawings, paintings, digital art, mixed media & photography. My works often explore the close bonds between beings and their interactions with the surrounding environment. Be it with the self, interpersonal, pathological, interspecies and so on. I am also fascinated by the history and culture of different places and identities. Looking through the lens of history to see the relevance of the past and uncovering the stories told through time, to me are beautiful.
Photography, Creative Direction
Gideon Wilonja is a Congolese born - Melbourne based Artist predominantly working across theatre, advertising campaigns, magazine editorials, runway, film/tv and personal styling. Gideons several years in the fashion industry, as well as working in the theatre and film industry as an actor, writer and director has shaped his design and storytelling approach to his work. Gideons ability to play with feminine and masculine aesthetics gives a unique perspective and a sensitivity to his work, creating bold and often soft imagery for his clients such as VAMFF, Melbourne Fashion week, Nicopanda, Aje, Ginger & Smart, Manning Cartell many more. Gideons work predominantly centres Black and queer voices, he uses his experience as a queer Black man to tell stories that are often overlooked by mainstream media, through his newly found theatre company Mwangaza Theatre, he works closely with his community to encourage them to reclaim autonomy over their own narratives.
You’re so lucky being transgender, you get the best of Both Worlds
Progresso graphite pencils, paper
Belinda Zipper is a transgender woman with two children. As a child of the 1970s, gender transition was both impossible and effectively inconceivable. After a couple failed attempts at cross-dressing (it was either that or ‘transvestite’ back then!), Belinda settled for a life of career, travel, family and friends – albeit as a male.
In 2014, at the age of 44, she experienced a symptom of what would soon be diagnosed as Parkinson’s disease. Two weeks after that first symptom she had a dream that she was living as a woman. Belinda started her journey as a trans woman, and saw the dream as the voice of her subconscious self waking her up to the urgency of reclaiming her body before she lost it to a pernicious degenerative disease.
She now lives with more purpose, love and gratitude than ever – buoyed by the euphoria of living as her authentic self, but also grounded by the sobering urgency that comes with a progressively debilitating disease.
"walking through worlds, basket mouth", " Walking through worlds, the weight of knowledge" and "walking through worlds, the expansion of breath dissolved into all"
Emiko Artemis graduated with a PhD in 2012, was awarded the University medal for her honors year and was a Hatched Graduate at PICA. She has been a finalist in the Josehine Ulrick photography award, the Musslebrooke art prize and was a category winner in the Manning Valley art prize. Emiko was president of IAVA in NSW and was showcased in Wollongong regional gallery’s Local Current show. In 2020 she was selected to attend Meeting Place, Arts Access Australia. She has received a Sydney Myer fund grant and a Victor Harbor arts and culture fund grant. In 2021 she was artist in residence at Saubier House. Her work has appeared publications including CODE magazine and Open Doors Collective. She has been profiled by the Illawarra times for her community arts work and has been interviewed by Radio Adelaide for two solo exhibitions. Emiko has also been interviewed by Regional Arts Australia about her practice. Emiko was awarded first prize in the Waverly Woollahra Printmaking Prize 2021.
Selected works from the 'Wunderkammer' series: Sacrament, Primitive Instincts, Modern Features
Operating in the realm of the subjective Marc Savoia employs techniques of image appropriation as an external means to negotiate his internal world. Collages are assembled and populated like characters in a story or as decorative allies towards a subversive goal; messaging and language to be decoded as the mind is invited to piece together narratives and relationships from the disparate elements. Working within a space of queer aesthetics, Savoia references the closet as a spatial metaphor through a metamorphic, transitional form of hybridity using the mask device. Savoia graduated with First Class Honours from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2012 and completed a Master of Fine Art Research with First Class Honours at Monash University, Art, Design and Architecture in 2015 with a thesis and solo exhibition titled Fractured Identity and the Monstrous Orchid. Savoia’s work is held in private collections internationally and in corporate and government collections in Australia.
Holly “Colourfull” Walton
MicrAdor ink textas on Paper
I'm Holly Walton, a disability artist. I work at Q art studio in Kew with other disability artists. Life is fun as an artist, getting to showcase as many as your works to the public. Researching online and on Facebook, I came across the Midsumma art competition to keep myself busy during lockdown. I decided to enter hoping to be more discovered, getting my colourful designs out there. I'm mostly good at hand drawn graphic designs. I love to draw on paper, it is my strongest point.
2021 AWARD WINNERS
WINNER ($6000 cash prize)
Emma Armstrong-Porter for NOT URS — 2019
Found Bedding and Haberdashery, Gold Thread, Mother's Dress
Highly commended works
Samuel Beatty for Top Surgery Recovery Series (Sever, Numb, Silence, Sense) — 2018
Digital Print on 100% Cotton Rag using Ultra Chrome Ink
Mira Oosterweghel for Like a torrent spills the bed — 2020
Two channel HD video
Glynn Urquhart for The First Person I Came Out To Was An MSN Chatbot — 2020
Single Channel Video (3D animation)
Bundoora Homestead Art Award
WINNER (Residency or Exhibition)
Selwyn Hoffman for The Pink Door Cottage of Solace Island — 2020
Cardboard, balsa wood, oils and wood
Highly commended works
Softwear (Shannon May Powell + Marley Stucci) for The offering of one's body as extraneous clothing — 2018
Photographic prints on Silk Satin Material
Mira Oosterweghel for Like a torrent spills the bed — 2020
Two channel HD video
People's Choice Award
Revee Bendixen for LONESOME COWBOY — 2020
Oil on canvas
This piece examines the cowboy as a symbol of masculinity but also as a countercultural ‘queer’ icon in conjunction with contemporary societal attitudes towards gender, sexuality, and the definition of masculinity in this modern world.
Image credit: Lauren Dunn
THE 2021 FINALISTS
Shannon May Powell
Judges of the Major Award of $6000 were Rhys Dodson, Service Partner Manager - Business and Government, Australia Post, Hannah Presley - Curator of Indigenous Art, NGV and Kate Just - Head of Graduate Coursework, VCA, and Visual Artist. The judge of the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Award was Boe-Lin Bastian - Curator, Bundoora Homestead Art Centre. The winner of this award won an exhibition or artist residency at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, a $1500 fee from Bundoora Homestead and $700 cash award from Midsumma.
The 2020 Winners
2020 Recipient: People's Choice Award
2020 Recipient: Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award
2020 Recipient: Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Award
Award: Exhibition or artist residency at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, a $1500 fee from Bundoora Homestead and $700 cash award from Midsumma
2019 Award Winners:
- Major Award of $5000 - Dexter Rosengrave for their HD Video "The After-Image "
- Star Observer award ($1000 Star Observer Prize) - Kate Just for their stunning hand knitted wool and acrylic yarns, canvas and timber series "Feminist Fan, #15, #19 and #26".
- Bundoora Homestead Art Award (includes an artist fee, residency opportunity and public outcome) - Sean Miles, for their archival inkjet prints in painted frames and performance "Māui-tikitiki-a-taranga".
- People's Choice Award ($1000) - Paul Yore for their work with found fabric, needlepoint, cotton thread, wool, acrylic paint, sequins, buttons and beads "Deny Everything".
Judges of the Major Award of $5000 included Francis Parker (MUMA), Madé Spencer-Castle (Centre for Contemporary Photography) and Gary Starr (Australia Post's Executive General Manager, Business and Government; and PostPride Executive Sponsor).
Finalists of the 2019 Midsumma Australia Post Art Prize: Alisha Abate | Alun Rhys Jones | Danielle Reynolds | Dexter Rosengrave | Ella Sowinska | Georgia Robenstone | Kate Just | Kate Power | Nicholas Smith | Olivia Koh | Paul Yore | Rosie Isaac | Sean Miles
2018 Award Winners:
- Main Award ($5000) - Tama tk Sharman for their outstanding installation "oh my how things change rua/II_(phalloplasty for poor cunts)"
- Star Observer Award ($1000 Star Observer Prize) - Lesley Turnbull for her stunning photographic series "S k i n s"
- People's Choice Award ($1000 People's Choice) - Xanthe Dobbie for her digital work "21st Century Greatest Hits Screensaver Pack".
Judges of the major art prize included curator Kelly Gellatly (Director, The Ian Potter Museum of Art), independent artist and writer Abbra Kotlarczyk (Art+Australia, un magazine, Das Platforms) and Andrew Walduck (Australia Post Executive General Manager for Trusted eCommerce Services).
Finalists of the 2018 Midsumma Australia Post Art Prize: Eureka Michael James O'Hanlon | Lesley Turnbull | Louis Fourie | Marc-O-Matic | Mark du Potiers | Meg Wilson | Peter Shepherd | Sam Foster | Sha Gaze | Sylvia Hollis | Tama tk Sharman | Xanthe Dobbie
Winners of the 2017 Midsumma Australia Art Prize
- Australia Post Art Prize: J. Rosenbaum
- Midsumma Art Prize, donated by Martin Foley MP, Member for Albert Park, Minister for Equality: Rafaella McDonald
- Star Observer Prize: Natalie Jeantou
- People's Choice Prize: Dalton Stewart
Finalists of the 2017 Midsumma Australia Post Art Prize: John Brooks | Rochelle Duke | Lauren Dunn | Léuli Eshraghi | Emma Ferguson | Goldie | Brent Harrison | Justin Hinder | Selwyn Hoffmann | Natalie Jeantou | Jessica Johnson | Natasha Madden | Rafaella McDonald | Jimmy Nuttall | Rachel Jessie-Rae O'Connor | Mark Payne | J. Rosenbaum | Dalton Stewart