Braidwood artist wins $50,000 scholarship for Gaza painting
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Braidwood artist wins $50,000 scholarship for Gaza painting

As the centenary of the First World War armistice draws near, Australia is poised to commemorate those who suffered and those who were lost during past conflicts.

On Thursday, Braidwood artist Kate Stevens won the inaugural Evelyn Chapman Art Award for her painting Gaza, which poignantly captures the devastation of war.

Braidwood artist Kate Stevens, the inaugural winner of the $50,000 Evelyn Chapman Art Award.

Braidwood artist Kate Stevens, the inaugural winner of the $50,000 Evelyn Chapman Art Award.Credit:Jamila Toderas

The work is part of her Drones over Aleppo series which depicts the war in Gaza, a conflict which might be further from home than some conflicts Australians have been involved with, but one that is bloody and ongoing.

The Canberra-trained, Braidwood-based artist created the series - which she felt "compelled" to paint rather than "inspired" - when she saw images, videos and drone footage of war-torn Gaza flooding social media.

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"When I saw all this content, on a variety of social media platforms, something within me felt compelled to just pause the footage, contemplate it and develop it," Stevens said.

The series is now on display at Gorman House at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space.

Kate Steven's 'Gaza'. The winning painting features the war-torn city of Gaza.

Kate Steven's 'Gaza'. The winning painting features the war-torn city of Gaza.Credit:Kate Stevens

The Evelyn Chapman Art Award is a new national award which provides a $50,000 scholarship to an Australian painter under the age of 45.

Evelyn Chapman, who died in 1961, was an Australian painter and the first female artist to depict the battlefields of the western front in the aftermath of the First World War.

The purpose of the scholarship is to "engender the encouragement, development and rewarding of artistic skill, through furthering the training and knowledge and skills of Australian painters".

The scholarship, which is endowed over two years, will allow Stevens to further develop the series from her backyard Braidwood studio.

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"I'll be looking through the collections at the War Memorial, and starting watercolours, just immersing myself in everything war-related and bringing that to further enhance this body of work," she said.