The people have spoken at prestigious art awards
  • Monday 14 October 2013

An exquisite charcoal drawing entitled Kevin by Brisbane artist Ray Coffey has won the Peoples’ Choice award at this year’s Sunshine Coast Art Prize (SCAP) 2D category.

Ray received the most votes from the thousands of visitors to the exhibition, which featured all 40 finalists in the prestigious national award.

In fact, Ray Coffey has won the People’s Choice in three consecutive art awards in 2013 and was honoured to accept his award and $2,500 winner’s cheque presented by the President of Caloundra Regional Gallery Friends, Lesley Muir.

Ray Coffey’s artwork reveals the hardship and humanity of homeless people and questions the path that people take and the situations they find themselves in, often not of their own making. This artwork was derived from a conversation with a Brisbane homeless man called Kevin.

Ray said to take out the People’s Choice award is a real honour and this win is dedicated to people like Kevin who he had the pleasure of meeting and drawing.

“Kevin’s story was one that will stay with me for years to come,” he said.

Kevin said he was fostered out to a nice family and went to an ‘opportunity’ school. He said the town had one main street and he was always waving at the same people, same faces. There was good work though, through fruit picking.

“Kevin said all his mates were married with kids and stuff and he decided to come down to Brisbane.

“Different faces, different people. Kevin can’t pick fruit anymore, as his heart is mucking up on him. Kevin likes living on the street, as he said he can’t stand the four walls. He also maintains there is no point whinging about it, as he has everything he needs; bath, shower and feed and he likes the way he lives.

“There is a lot to be learnt from people like Kevin”.

The SCAP 3D People’s Choice award sponsored by Friends Noosa Regional Gallery Inc was presented to Di West for her bronze work The Last Tree which has been sold to one lucky art collector.

Di West said she was delighted to be awarded the People’s Choice Award.

“I was compelled to create this artwork after watching a documentary on the clearing of the Amazon Rain Forests,” she said.

“It seemed not only sad, but so alarming to me that this is still happening.

“I wanted to do my little bit to send a message that we can change things in our world. Ideally this sculpture will convey my feelings and hopefully make my thoughts understood to the viewer. In this work I create every element completely by hand from wax. A little new leaf holds firmly to the tree, my idea of hope, of optimism.”

The 2013 SCAP Tertiary 3 People’s Choice was presented to Yanni Van Zijl for her work ‘Low Tide’. Yanni received $500 for garnering the most votes from visitors to the gallery.

Yanni Van Zijl said she was flattered to receive the People’s Choice award as it is a genuine response from the public.

“It makes you realise how fortunate we are as practicing and emerging artists to have the Butter Factory Arts Centre, Cooroy to display our work,” she said.

Sunshine Coast Council offers art buffs a last chance to acquire a fantastic piece of art at affordable prices following the recent successful SCAP Art Auction. Visit council’s gallery website before Wednesday 16 October to download the list of artworks which are available for purchase or call council’s Gallery Director Nina Shadforth on 5420 8299 or 5449 5340 to arrange an appointment to view the artworks.