Gareth Sansom with his winning work, Made in Wadeye. Photo: James Brickwood
If you think there are too many frivolous, predictable art prizes in Australia, you are not alone.
The $30,000 Dobell Drawing Prize, awarded this year to 73-year-old Melbourne artist Gareth Sansom for Made in Wadeye, has been awarded for the final time after two decades, it was announced today at the Art Gallery of NSW.
The prize will be replaced by the Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial to be held from 2014 at the gallery.
The curated drawing exhibition will be funded by the Dobell Foundation, which administers the drawing prize, with the money that would otherwise have been paid to the Dobell Prize winner.
The Dobell Foundation's Karen Wann said it was sad to end the prize after 20 years, but there were too many drawing prizes.
"Change is always good," she said.
"We've heard from a number of people that it's become predictable, the drawing prize.
"And we don't want predictable.
"And we don't want to be one of many drawing prizes. We're fairly special. We've been around for a long time."
The curator of this year's Dobell Drawing Prize, Anne Ryan, said prizes had many advantages, but also drawbacks.
Ryan, who will curate the first biennial in 2014, said: "When you're trying to look at a subject in a serious way, which is what we're trying to do with Australian contemporary drawing ... there are some things you just can't do with a prize."