As most of you know I am something of a Blake fanatic (teaching a course on him in third year at the moment)... so I was keen not to miss the Blake Prize for Religious Art Opening Ceremony last night at the National Art School in East Sydney. Macolm Turnbull was the guest speaker (yawn!)...
However many of the submitted works were fabulous, continuing in the radical tradition of William Blake, daring to challenge the status quo with powerful images. Here for example was Sue Jarvis's "The Sanctuary of St Pauls" depicting a holier than thou Church environment with a caption on the church site declaring " Make Poverty History".... immediately beneath the sign.. on the other side of the steep WALL surrounding the church sit some poverty stricken homeless men.... Jarvis's point is very clear and is in the tradition of Blake's poem "London":
How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
Every blackning Church appalls...
There was also this rather confronting image entitled "When My Brother Cried- The Agony in the Garden" by Richard Campbell which depicted an Aboriginal face locked behind ropes in the trunk of a tree.... an image that certainly resonated with what we in first year have been reading in Kate Grenville's "The Secret River"
On a brighter note there was this wonderful painting by Nafisa Naomi called "Regeneration" which captured well that "renovating" experience of nature that Blake talks about so often... especially in the "Songs of Innocence" and in "The Visions of the Daughters of Albion"
Blake's vision and impact is alive and well in the Australian context!
If you want to read about the winner this year go to: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/08/29/2018495.htm