Town of Claremont Art Award 2016

Artist Mia Laing 2016 'Claremont - Past and Present. Look Back to Move Forward' oil on canvas 2016 76x101cm
Today I received shortlist notification for the Town of Claremont Art Awards. Thank goodness for that, I can breathe again. Waiting for finalist notifications is a tedious business; its a whole year in-between shows and there's never a guarantee of making the cut with the amount of incredible talent In Perth. In its third year as an annual show and with Claremont being my home town, I get super excited to enter this award! Last year I was also a finalist and narrowly missed out on the People's Choice Award (so I was told) with this painting...
Award winning West Australian artist, Mia Laing 'One Thousand Words' oil on canvas 2015 30x40inches/76x100cm copyright Mia laing 2015 One Thousand Words oil on canvas 2015 30x40inches/76x100cm
The previous year, 2014, with the inaugural art award... I didn't even get selected! Ah, the downside of figurative realism painting, it doesn't always make the finalist list. I was totally gutted. My home town and its first ever show and I missed out. Especially sad, seeing I painted Lake Claremont as the background to my painting. That disappointment sure did give me a huge dose of 'toughen up'.
copyright Mia Laing 2015 'Painter's Companion' oil on canvas 2015 30x40' / 76x101cm
Lucky for me though, I have since sold this painting and it is now gracing the walls of a cancer rehab centre in Busselton, 'Dot's House' and hopefully giving some joy at a hard time. So anyway, this year, for the first time they had a selection criteria...
  •  Reflective of Claremont, a conservative, well established, well educated community  Demonstrating a high level of technical skill, composition and quality  Responsive to or inspired by the cultural identity, character and community of the Town  Diverse in art forms and approach.
I took this criteria quite literally and approached it in my usual realism style, using a reference photo of my daughter, Bel, set against the backdrop of a billboard in Claremont.
Artist Mia Laing 2016 'Claremont - Past and Present. Look Back to Move Forward' oil on canvas 2016 76x101cm
I started with the idea to somehow incorporate the rich history of Claremont into a figurative painting...armed with this spark of a thought, my trusty camera and with the promise of a coffee for my girl, we went in search of an image. Half an hour was all it took to take the right photo. The splash of red against the black and white was too good to walk past...the old and the new. Perfect. My artist statement was -
"The Town of Claremont, as one of Western Australia’s oldest residential areas, offers a wonderful connection between the past and present. My painting depicts the new Claremont; a well dressed young lady, mobile phone in hand, symbolic of the tapestry of shops and schools in the area and of the youth, that will in their time, add their own history to the town. The young woman is looking backwards, symbolising how we must look back to preserve our history. She is backdropped by the large scale photograph portraying the rich heritage of Claremont. I choose to highlight the Council Chamber photograph (as currently displayed at the Train Station vicinity) with fallen leaves under it, as a symbol of how heritage is ever present to the new developments in Claremont and can be so beautiful, yet can so easily fall and be swept away."
The exhibition opens on the 19th of August, upstairs in the Claremont Quarter, and runs through until the 27th August. Perth peeps...and for my many friends in the area, please pop in when you are next in Claremont, cause I KNOW you will be in Coles, doing that mind numbing food shop for the 56 millionth time (why do teenagers eat so darn much?) and don't forget to make a People's Choice vote for your favourite art piece. Wink, wink... Paintbrushes crossed for judging. Mia x
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