Sally Stokes; a Local Artist, recently won the prestigious Muswellbrook Art Prize, valued at $50,000.

The judge was Lauretta Morton, Director of Newcastle Art Gallery.

The Muswellbrook Art Prize selects only the very best works to compete in the final adjudication and to be displayed in the exhibition. Many of the winning artists have had long and successful careers and many are numbered among the most significant in Australia’s creative life. Previous winners include such key figures as Suzanne Archer, David Aspden, Sydney Ball, Marion Borgelt, Colin Lanceley, Richard Larter, Margo Lewers, Elwyn Lynn, Noel McKenna, Mike Parr, Da-vid Rankin and Fred Williams.

Last September, Sally was fortunate to have an artist residency at Tweed Regional Gallery. Morn-ings would be spent drawing at Fingal Bay where the pandanus roam. Strange upside down direc-tions, weird spaces between the roots, deep overlapping and surprises. There was an unusual light seeping amongst them. While she did a number of small paintings in the provided studio —this winning painting was painted when she returned to her home studio in Dural —with the drawings, paintings and memories surrounding her, as she tries to reach that unreachable connection.

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