Royal Queensland Art Society Biennial Queensland Figurative and Young Artist Awards
Thank you, Ashleigh Denning for that magnificent performance. Member for Cooper, Ms Jonty Bush MP; President of the Royal Queensland Art Society, Mr Brent O’Neill and Committee, Distinguished Guests; good evening.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and extend respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging.
Graeme and I are delighted to join you here this evening for this Gala Opening of the Royal Queensland Art Society’s Biennial, with its two major competitions, the Queensland Figurative, and the Young Artist Award.
Throughout its long history, this Society has championed innovation and adopted new ideas. There may have been criticism, controversy and disagreement along the way, but fortunately for Queensland artists, art students and the general public, the Society has always acknowledged the importance of thinking beyond the constraints of tradition, both for artists and for the art-viewing public.
The past decade has seen several excellent examples of what can happen when new ideas and approaches are embraced.
First, just over 10 years ago, the Society moved into these modern and functional premises. It gave members space for a library, a studio for workshops, and multiple gallery spaces. And since that move, membership has not only grown but has become younger, leading to the establishment of the Young Artist Award five years ago.
And what a success that has been!
The competition has helped the Society to strengthen existing relationships with schools and art colleges and has become an acknowledged platform for emerging artists under 30.
But the Young Artist Award was not the first innovation; it followed the earlier success of the Society’s most prestigious biennial competition – the Queensland Figurative, with its valuable prizes and opportunities such as tonight’s Gala where the artists’ work can be seen.
Another example of the Society’s willingness to go where few art societies have gone before was their decision to gather and publish frank recollections of the Society’s recent history as an update to Thorns and Petals. Published as Journey in Art, this collection is not only an important record; it will become a vital historical reference.
As Patron, I am very pleased to be an advocate for this Society which has played such a significant role in the history of the visual arts in our State. I know it will continue to fulfill its original objective of encouraging and promoting appreciation of the fine arts, but I am equally confident that it will continue to imagine and innovate.
It is now my pleasure to declare the Royal Queensland Art Society Biennial open and to wish every artist success over the next three weeks and for their future careers.