Saturday, 23 August 2014

The Substation Contemporary Art Prize

the substation contemporary art prize

Last Friday night I dragged my sorry little lurgy-lugging body out of the tracksuit I had been inhabiting for more days than I care to think about all day and headed out to the opening night of The Substation Contemporary Art Prize. I am so glad I did.
Melbourne continues to surprise and delight me. Just 10 minutes west of the CBD is this extraordinary community arts venue. The Newport Substation is, you guessed it, an old energy substation. Reimagined by some kindred spirits and restored through a number of community work initiatives; it now houses a number of art spaces, hosts workshops, farmers markets and offers multiple other opportunities to engage the local community.

The Substation Contemporary Art Prize recognises innovation in contemporary art practice and includes all mediums across the visual arts. It is a diverse and exciting exhibition, beautifully curated (by Jessica Bridgfoot) using all the nooks and crannies of a fascinating building.

Here is just a little taste of a couple of the works that took my fancy:

newport substation contemporary art prize daniel mckewen
Zarathustra's Cave - Daniel McKewen
A video installation with sound, featuring a set we all know well- I'm not going to say anymore, you have to experience it.

newport substation contemporary art prize jonathon crowther
Stretch Marks - Jonathon Crowther
Oil on canvas.
Can you guess what it is?

newport substation contemporary art prize oscar perry
Postwar Donor Logistics/"In the morning I will be sober" - Oscar Perry
A work that makes you laugh and then think- the best kind I reckon.

Substation contemporary art prize phuong ngo
Residual: Selected Components of Article 14.1 - Phuong Ngo
A visceral work about the refugee experience. An excellent example of the power art has to enrich the perspective of the audience.

The Substation's sense of belonging to, and supporting the local community was very evident on opening night. I was particularly impressed with the number of families with young children exploring the exhibition. There is a real buzz of energy in the building (excuse the pun) as well as a lovely welcoming vibe. Well worth a visit, and you have plenty of opportunity as this exhibition is on until 12th October

The gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday 11am to 5pm and entry is free.


  1. Oh my god!!! What gorgeous art - definitely worth ripping the trackies off for!! I'd love to have a millionth of their talent!! xx

  2. I need to get out to the gallery more :) So cool!

    1. Galleries are such inspiring spaces. And healthy, you can't do much except be in the moment. I need to spend more time in galleries too.

  3. It sounds like a fantastic exhibition and some of the artwork definitely piqued my interest!


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