STILL: National Still Life Award 2023 People’s Choice winner announced 

South Australian artist Clare Belfrage has been named the People’s Choice Award winner of the City of Coffs Harbour’s STILL: National Still Life Award 2023 exhibition. 

Clare’s work Soaking Warmth captured the imagination of visitors to the Yarrila Arts and Museum exhibition which opened last month, winning the People’s Choice Award. 

Clare Belfrage, Soaking Warmth, 2023. Blown glass with cane drawing, sandblasted, acid etched and pumice polished. 42 x 84 x 18 cm. Image courtesy of Sabbia Gallery.

“Winning the people’s choice award can kick-start a career and certainly reflects a connection between artist and art lovers at a grass roots level,” said the City’s Mayor, Cr Paul Amos. 

“When submitting for a prize, you totally put your work out there to be judged, and I was so delighted to be selected as one of the finalists from around Australia for STILL: National Still Life Award,” Clare said. 

“Winning the People’s Choice Award has given me the perspective that my work has really been seen, and loved, by a big audience, and that feels so great.”  

“It’s the real reason for making, to reach people and make a connection. I am really honoured. Big thanks to the team at Yarrila Arts and Museum and, the People of course!” 

Guest curator for STILL Sandra Conte said Clare’s work was the clear winner in the hotly contested award. 

Ms Conte described Soaking Warmth (a series of blown glass vases with cane drawing, sandblasted, acid etched and pumice polished) as speaking directly to the artist’s engagement with the natural order of the environment and as per her artist’s statement, the work proved to be “quiet and gentle, powerful and profound”. 

“Some visitors seemingly worshipped before the work rising from the plinth, in awe of its sheer beauty and the light refractions beaming and bouncing off the opacity of the surfaces, the wall shadows casting a perfect line-up of still ‘seers’ watching over the exhibition.” 

The biennial acquisitive award, now in its fourth iteration, is open to all artists across Australia. STILL 2023 invited fresh and contemporary explorations of still life themes, highlighting the diversity and vitality of still life in Australian contemporary art. 

STILL 2023 is Sponsored by,  saso.creative and Bryant McKinnon Lawyers, along with supporting sponsors, Moving Art, Andrew Peace Wines, Harbour Magazine, and Friends of Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery.  

The exhibition is open to the public until 3 December so be quick to catch it.