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A host of island sculptors and artists literally can’t wipe the smiles off their faces!

When the winners of the various categories and prizes were handed their awards at the Girt by Sea presentation night, everyone was delighted, even those who did not win.

Few can remember such a happy and joyful night on the islands.

The Father of Art on the islands, Ted Upton, summed it up when he received his $8000 prize for his work ‘Freedom’ a dolphin in timber leaping: “I never expected to win anything and this is just wonderful for art and our islands”.

It is people like Ted Upton who have long wanted to make our islands a destination for more and more artists, with more nights like the presentation event, and it will happen sooner rather than later.

The three major prices at $14,000 each for sculpture, went to mainland artists.

The judges Peter McKay and Ruth McDougall of the Queensland Gallery of modern art, clearly selected works of the more traditional forms associated with sculpture.

The three $14,000 each winners are Christopher Trotter, Sonic Boy Buoy; Antone Bruinsma, Moonrise; and Mela Cooke, The Secret;

But it was islanders who filled in all the rest of the ranks in both sculpture and works of painted art.

One island artist entered and won in both categories. Joy Sladden won $8000 for her sculpture Whistling Kite and $500 for her Karra Sunset Turtle painting.

The most imagination with an island theme clearly came from the island sculptors.

Many of them were very clever with water and water creature themes.

Rodney Hammond, of Russell Island, not only won an $8000 prize, but also picked up the people’s choice award for sculpture.

Abrams Papp won the people’s choice in the painting section.

The major $5000 prize in the painting section was won by Chris Ashton with his Gateway to my Island.

He was delighted to have won the top prize, even though he has only been painting for a few years.

“I am humbled to be in such company,” he told the gathering.

It was a good thing the ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’ of ‘they seek him here they seek him there’ fame was there to accept a multiple of prizes for Macleay Island artists who were not there for the presentation.

Judith Brady was up and down like a yo yo seemingly collecting a bevy of Macleay prizes.

The man behind the event, Cr Mark Edwards, who came up with the almost $100,000 prize money was delighted with the first Girt by Sea in this format.

“it was just wonderful to see so many happy artists. The Recreation Hall on Russell was absolutely packed and I would like to thank Steve Morgan and Bob Turner for their efforts, particularly Steve for working almost non-stop on a voluntary basis,” the councillor said.

Mayor Karen Williams admitted that Cr Edwards had ‘stolen a march’ on the council to obtain this on-going financial boost for Redland and Island art.

“There is no doubt that the Girt by Sea event will help put the Redlands and the island in particular on the artistic map.

“The event is a little like the Paul Kelly song: “From Little Things, Big Things Grow”.

The results:


$14,000 x3 main prizes: Christopher Trotter, Sonic Ba y Buoy : Antone Bruinsma, Moonrise : Mela Cooke, The Secret;

$8000 x4 prizes: Mike Van Dam, Dolphins:Joy Sladden, Whistling Kite : Ted Upton, Freedom : Rodney Hammond, Shark in the Park.


$5000 main art prize: Chris Ashton; Gateway to my Island

2x $2500: David Wells, Ghost Moth/Bone Icon; Andrea Quinn, Karla’s Cove

5x $1000: Robert Warren,View of the Island; Joan Grimes, Wind in the Sails; Abramo Papp, Dusk over Canaipa Passage; Maz Thomson, Storm over Macleay; Lesley Harris,Tapestry of Turtles.

10 x $500: Nancy Quin, Quietitude; David Wells, Coondooroopa Cove; Wendy Dann, Waiting for the Waterbus; Lynette O'Neill, Skeleton Crew; Ian McKenna, Lucas Passage; Marilyn Thompson, Secret Cove; Doreen Fry, Blue Haven; Sharon Downey, View from the Veranda; Kinga Rypinska, Magical Island; Joy Sladden, Karra Sunset (turtle).

See all the entries and results at

All the happy winners of the Girt by Sea Art Exhibition

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