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Napier Waller Art Prize

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

I am thrilled to be awarded a Highly Commended for the Napier Waller Australian War Memorial veteran's art prize. The prizes is named after Mervyn Napier Waller CMG, OBE, a veteran and also an amazing muralist, mosaicist and painter. He is perhaps best known for the mosaics and stained glass for the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, completed in 1958 - which has always taken my breath way when I've visited.

A link to the virtual exhibition can be seen at (and you can also vote for the People's Prize there too!):

Sadly I probably won't get up to Canberra for the launch because of the COVID pandemic.

In any case, here is my Artist statement, followed by my work:

Each time I returned from service in Afghanistan I experienced a period of resettling. Re-mapping my sense of home, finding my place amongst shapes.

In the military we use map-marking stencils to plan operations and battles. The stencilled shapes represent an entity, capability or action. I carved my late husband Andrew’s old military stencils into this linocut.

Most shapes in the linocut represent positive action, supporting the journey home - stairs that ascend or descend, and arrows showing the right direction. But there are negative shapes too – weapons and ammunition that can frighten or confuse. Andrew returned from Afghanistan a completely different man, lost among negative shapes and unable to resettle.

The Australian War Memorial, where we can reflect on many journeys, is central to each linocut. It appears to have a face with worried eyes, and its cage-like, gritted grimace expresses anxiety.

Sitting behind the solid dark shapes are four military maps. Greens, pinks, and blues peek through, representing the natural world and our old home of Canberra.

The four maps represent journeys: One was Andrew’s. One mine. One our 5-year-old daughter, Imogen. The last one might be yours.

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