Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (CPAC) has announced 80 talented finalists for The 65th Blake Prize – one of Australia’s longest standing and most prestigious prizes. Hailing from across the world and across Australia, the finalists were carefully selected from a whopping 769 entries, a massive 30% increase from 2016. CPAC Director Craig Donarski said the winners of each Blake Prize category will each take home a generous award. “The winner of this prestigious prize will be the lucky recipient of $35,000; the winner of the Blake Emerging Artist Prize will also take home a cool $6,000; and the winner of the Blake Established Artist Residency will receive a one-month residency and a solo exhibition at CPAC,” said Craig.

Artists from Australian soil include Brisbane poet, writer, and artist Anna Jacobson, who was selected on the merit of her photography piece Separation Ceremony. Anna has been artistically inclined for as long as she can remember, even commendeering the family’s 35mm film camera at ten years of age. “When my parents gave me a small digital camera for my sixteenth birthday I remember crying with happiness!” Anna says.

Anna’s creative expertise stretches across a variety of mediums, and explains that she loves art, including photography, video and illustration, and writing equally. “I don’t prefer one over the other, but turn to different mediums when I need to express something in another way.” This is not Anna’s first experience with a renowned art compeition. Her photography and video art has been exhibited at the Queensland Centre for Photography, the Lethbridge Gallery in Paddington, and she was a finalist in the Lord Mayor’s Photographic Awards.

Separation Ceremony is based on Anna’s grandfather’s spice box. Anna was entranced by the spice box’s intricate latticework and it’s lingering scent of cinnamon and cloves. Anna drew on her Jewish faith and experience with psychosis to imagine a separation of the self. “In Judaism, the Havdalah prayer (Separation Ceremony), separates the Jewish Sabbath from the rest of the week through the ritual of smelling spices in a spice box,” Anna explains.

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