The 26th South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival culminated in a glittering ceremony at the SALA Hub, Queen’s Theatre, marking the grand finale and announcing the talented award winners of 2023.
This year, the festival celebrated an impressive participation of 10,915 artists, showcasing 697 exhibitions across 620 venues in Adelaide and its scenic regional locales.
Acting CEO of SALA Bridget Alfred, expressed awe at the talent on display, acknowledging both seasoned artists of four decades and young, emerging voices.
“Judging panels for this year’s SALA Awards were blessed and challenged by the depth of talent, skills and originality across the finalists in all categories. The diversity was breathtaking, with senior artists of 40 years’ experience and exceptional skill sitting alongside raw and emerging voices. The awards are really a snapshot of the rich field of visual artists that thrive in South Australia,” she says.
“Congratulations to all the artists, venues and curators who have participated this year, the 2023 SALA Festival has been a huge success.”
Amongst the The SALA Award recipients were several newcomers along with established artists.
Kaspar Schmidt Mumm was honoured with the City of Adelaide Incubator Award, which celebrates the unique experience of Adelaide City. Mumm’s win not only brought him a cash prize of $7,000, but also a chance to engage with the community in a public program next year.
Meanwhile, ‘Through My Lens,’ a soulful exhibition at Adelaide Festival Centre by Susan Bruce, secured The Advertiser’s Contemporary Art Award. Bruce, who received $5,000, captivated audiences by crafting landscapes through various artistic mediums, using portals as a lens metaphor.
In the realm of digital art, Marian Sandberg won hearts and the Unitcare Services Digital Media Award with her innovative piece, ‘The Presence’ at FELTspace. While Stephanie Doddridge, a budding talent, was recognized as the City Rural Emerging Artist for her work ‘On Harvesting Dandelions’ at St Peter’s Cultural Heritage Centre Gallery.
The City of Unley Active Aging Award celebrated Katrina Linn for her expressive art at Living Choice, Fullarton. Tyson Jay Brant’s poignant social commentary in ‘Forgotten Fables of the South-East’ earned him the Don Dunstan Foundation Award.
Furthermore, Laura Wills and Jackie Saunders received the City of Onkaparinga SALA Artist Residency, Yasemin Sauncu was given the SALA Solo Photographic Opportunity, and the Inspiring SA Science in Art Award was conferred upon Kate Kurucz for her thought-provoking work.
While the Hither & Yon Venue Award remains shrouded in suspense, set to be unveiled later in September, the festival did disclose a sneak peek into 2024. Julia Robinson is slated to be the star artist next year, with Leigh Robb, Hannah Kent, and upcoming writer Jess Taylor collaborating on the South Australian Living Artists Publication.
Some SALA exhibitions are continuing throughout September- check the SALA app to see what is still open and remember that Shop SALA will continue to give you access to information, SA artists and their work all year round.