Creativity and sustainability on show at the 2023 Australian Rustic Farm Art Awards

Published on: Wednesday, November 22, 2023

A tribute to the resilience and resourcefulness of rural Australians has earned the top prize at the 2023 Australian Rustic Farm Art Awards in Gidgegannup.

Scott McDonald won the $3500 Bendigo Community Bank Mundaring Overall Award for Farmer’s Throne and Side Table, made from garden tools, handles, wire, hessian, furniture and natural wood.

Mr McDonald said his entry was dedicated to rural people who endured wars, the Great Depression and natural disasters.

“Their ability to utilise whatever is lying around to create items of form and function has long been part of the Australian rural landscape,” he said.

The judges said Mr McDonald’s piece (pictured below) symbolised the “tenacity of spirit” of rural Australians who found creative solutions in tough environments.

“This piece embodies the reuse and sustainability that is a large part of the heart of farming,” the judges said.

The awards, run by the Gidgegannup Agricultural Society with the support of the City of Swan, were presented at the 2023 Gidge Show on October 28.

It was the second edition of the awards, which were established to give the Perth Hills community a creative outlet after the devastating 2021 Wooroloo bushfire.

The inaugural edition was a resounding success and ended in an emotional exhibition and presentation at the 2022 Gidge Show.

This year’s awards attracted even more entries and showcased the stunning creativity and talent of our community.

Residents were invited to take part in a free beginners’ woodwork and metalwork workshop with acclaimed Perth Hills artist Neil Elliott.

He encouraged participants to focus on the reuse of old or broken objects and the sustainability inherent in the farm art genre.

Paul Elliot’s sculpture, Re-Pressed, received rave reviews from the judges, winning the $1500 Okeland Communities Local Artist Award (pictured below).

The sculpture features a woman in a long and windswept dress made with 100-year-old pressed tin from a house in the Wheatbelt.

“The judges were moved by (Mr Elliot’s) gentle, yet powerful, intricately created work from pressed tin ceiling panels, they said.

“The artist has captured the powerful element of wind within the movement of the piece, reflecting the enduring strength of pioneering women in farming history that will resonate with many in the community.”

The winner of the $1000 Jessica Shaw MLA Youth Award was Toby Bryson with his piece G.O.A.T., a tribute to a family pet who passed away (pictured below).

A design and technology teacher, Mr Bryson made G.O.A.T. using a range of old tools, used parts and scrap.

“This work is a beautiful creation made after the loss of a beloved family pet,” the judges said.

“This work captures a realistic vision of the animal’s pose. The artist has executed this piece with finesse and a clear vision.”

Sean Harding received the $500 Rustic Gallery Bellevue and Gidgegannup Agricultural Society Peoples’ Choice Award for his life-sized entry, Kangaroo (pictured below).

$3500 Bendigo Community Bank Mundaring Overall Award

Scott McDonald - Farmers Throne and Side Table

$1000 Jessica Shaw MLA Youth Award

Toby Bryson - Greatest of All Time

$1500 Okeland Communities Local Artist Award

Paul Elliot - Re-Pressed

$500 Rustic Gallery Bellevue & Gidgegannup Agricultural Society Peoples’ Choice Award

Sean Harding – Kangaroo

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