Infertility struggle inspires winning work in Blacktown City Art Prize

2021 Blacktown City Art Prize winner - Yvette Tziallas - Lacrimo..JPG

Blacktown City Mayor, Tony Bleasdale OAM, has hailed the 2021 Blacktown City Art Prize as one of the best regional art competitions and exhibitions in Australia.

“The artworks that made it through to the final judging were of incredibly high standard and showcased the talents of artists from all over Australia, but I’m proud to say that many of those were from Western Sydney.

“It was my privilege to announce that the 2021 Blacktown City Art Prize went to Yvette Tziallas for her stunning artwork Lacrimo.” Mayor Bleasdale said.

The incredibly detailed piece, created with pen, ink and liquid acrylic on birch plywood impressed the judges and was chosen from 107 finalists to take out the top prize.

Hailing from the Southern Highlands, Yvette Tziallas has been a finalist in the prestigious regional art prize for the past three years and was overjoyed to be crowned the winner this year.

Her artwork tells the deeply personal story of her struggles with infertility and conceiving a child and is inspired by biology and the female reproductive system.

Tziallas said taking out the prize was an enormous honour and would be “life changing”.

“I was born with a lot of complicated health issues and one of those has meant that I can’t conceive or carry a pregnancy, so I have struggled with infertility for a long time,” she said.

“This piece was created through a bit of a darker time when I was researching surrogacy and coming to terms with infertility and all the options that are out there.

“Creating Lacrimo, which means to ‘weep’ or ‘shed tears’, was a therapeutic process involving intricate detail,” Tziallas said.

Her winning piece comes with a prize of $15,000 and Lacrimo will be acquired for the Blacktown City Art Collection.

The winner of the Aboriginal Artist Prize is well-known Darug artist Leanne Tobin for her artwork Are You Listening Now?

The artwork contains layers of symbolism and explores connection to the Country, through the theme of renewal and healing.

Ms Tobin was thrilled to be chosen by the judges, who commented that her work expressed a strong message about the owners and caretakers of Country and how they have prevailed over time.

Leanne’s great, great, great grandmother was Maria Lock, the daughter of respected Darug elder Yarramundi and one of the first Aboriginal women to become a land owner, gaining back a small part of her traditional country.

The winner of the Local Artist Prize is local artist Renee Lim with her artwork The Other.

Lim, a student at the University of Sydney, explores themes of light and dark and personal growth, created during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s my first time entering an art contest and to win an award is just amazing. I was ecstatic about being exhibited and had no expectations about winning,” Lim said.

Highly Commended artists in this year’s Prize include:

Belinda Sims, The Sentinels

Hyun Hee Lee, Remembering

Peter Rush, The cadence and rhythm of Delhi

Maddison Gibbs, River Matriarch

Holly Oakley, 11am Covid Update

The 2021 Blacktown City Art Prize exhibition is now on show in part at The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, Max Webber Library (Blacktown), Dennis Johnson Library (Stanhope Gardens) and Our Library @ The Mount Druitt Hub until Thursday, 27 January, 2022.

The exhibition consists of 107 artworks spread throughout the 4 centres, ranging from painting and drawing to sculpture, ceramics and mixed media.

Now in its 26th year, the prize is open to artists living across Australia and provides an opportunity to share, develop and enrich artistic practice.

Picture: Winner of the 2021 Blacktown City Arts Prize Yvette Tziallas with stunning artwork ‘Lacrimo’.

/Public Release. View in full here.