Western Australia is renowned worldwide for its incredible diversity of plant life, with some of the richest biodiversity on the planet and a large percentage of species being endemic to this land. The York Botanic Art Prize, now in its second year, was conceived to celebrate this abundance of unique flora and highlight the importance of its conservation in the face of increasing threats.
Botanical art in Australia has undergone somewhat of a renaissance in the last 10 years; however, unlike other botanical art prizes, we're not looking for scientific illustrations nor necessarily representative work - the only limitation being that work must directly relate to the theme of Western Australian flora and make reference to specific WA species. Artists whose work challenges traditional notions and conventions of botanical art, in a sense 'botanical art in the expanded field', are encouraged to enter.
The inaugural Prize received hundreds of expressions of interest from around Australia, with the 58 finalists representing the breadth and diversity of contemporary art practice. The winner of the inaugural Prize was Kirsten Hudson's work Requiem (Kalyakoorl), a handmade 16mm cameraless film that chronicles the five-month lifecycle of a field of Everlastings (Rhodanthe chlorosephala subsp. rosea), fulfilled this brief outstandingly. In awarding Requiem (Kalyakoorl) the Prize, the judges said "at a time when many of us are turning our work and interests towards the local, this four-minute film perfectly encapsulates how creativity can be utilised to investigate matters of profound complexity