Heart of the Bush 2023 Highlights

In association with the Goondiwindi Civic Centre Artspace we were very proud to host our first Art and Photography Exhibition & Awards - Heart of the Bush.

Backed with over $7500 in prize money and over 100 entries myself and fellow judges Carly Le Cerf, Jessica Howard and Emma Kate Wilson selected 38 finalists.

The Night

We had artists and photographers travel from all over Australia to our hometown of Goondiwindi to  celebrate the Opening of the exhibition and the announcement of the award winners.

We would like to say a huge congratulations to our winners and tell their story below.

Photo to the right from one of our sponsors @goondiwindicotton

The $5000 Major Award

All Lit Up

by @lauren_elise_kennedy

"As we gathered around the fire at sundown, the rock faces lit up, and our group beamed with excitement as the trees turned metallic blue and the rocks were glowing like the finale show of the day. Our glasses full, our hearts exploding."

Lauren Kennedy is a contemporary artist investigating ways to communicate the energy of Australian environments. Her artworks highlight the textures, marks, and space of monumental landscapes and instil a connection to this ancient and unique place, evoking a sense of awe and meditation. Of being grounded.

All of our judges felt the heart of the bush exuding out of her work as the downing sun set ablaze the backdrop of the rocky red and orange escarpments.

Sponsored by Bush Exchange

$1000 Artist Encouragement Award

Leaping Rocks, Tjoritja

by @sarahlowart

Sarah masterfully captured the lucidity of Australia’s bright sunlight.

You can almost hear the flies buzzing in the foreground of this ancient landscape. Immersed in the heart of the bush: for a moment time stands still.

"I paint plein air, immersed in the landscape. Flies zoom past, birds sing, shadows stretch and shift. I am fascinated by the geology and the ancient, powerful presence of the land in central Australia. These leaping rock crests, like the spines of an ancient dinosaur, call to mind the deep layers of time and history here at the heart of Australia. I hope that by paying attention, I can pay my respects to this ancient land and to the power of nature."

Sponsored by

$1000 Photography Encouragement Award

To Find Water

by @_beneaththebrim

To Find Water Part of Sarah's 3 piece series, Living with Curiosity.

"Curiosity has lead me on many a journey throughout my adulthood. More recently it lead me 4,500km North from the black soil plains of Rowena NSW to the Mitchell grass plains of Marble Bar WA. I felt a strong desire to branch out in the agricultural industry, and so a Jillaroo I became. In both cropping and cattle I feel a strong sense of belonging, and that the heart of the bush is where I feel most at home. One of my favourite quotes by John Muir goes a little like this, “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt”. Well now I sure hope it won’t just be a few."

Sponsored by @goondiwindicotton

Retired Thrones

Highly Commended
by @the_farmers_friend

"A crack of light adds a golden glow to the old stock saddles decaying in a dark corner of a no longer used shearing shed, once a part of everyday life on this mixed farming property in South Western Queensland. Showing the scars from countless hours of use, these thrones of the Stockmen now covered in dust and cobwebs sit in their retirement. A reminder of a different time."

Captain Melville's View

Highly Commended
by @kathrynjunor

'I, like Captain Melville albeit for different reasons love the elevations, rock formations and geology that have been formed over thousands of years in the Australian landscape. They soar high above the plains and could be described as a ‘heart of the bush’ being used as landmarks to guide travellers both indigenous and early settlers, their crags and crevices providing shelter for fauna.'

You'll Find Me There Always

Highly Commended
by @patrick_oates

"The bush of central Queensland was home to my late uncle, Terry. The place had a spiritual quality for him, despite the hardship he battled as a grazier in the peak of The Drought. Mum once asked him what it was he loved so much about he bush. His reply would always be the same: ‘the sound and smell just gets in your blood.’ Terry later took his life. He was a father, hard worker, incredible storyteller, and a romantic at heart. This painting is an ode to Terry and a conversation about the home that raised us in the bush."

Easter Yellow Belly and Wilga Leaves

Highly Commended
by @marvene_ash

"Fresh flows into Brigalow Creek and many fried fish feasts were part of my childhood. My brother caught this fish after our recent floods and I was able to quickly paint this beauty in the pan before our Easter lunch. I am happy to join with Heart of the Bush in celebrating such moments of the bush experience."