20th Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize
Rhonda Sharpe’s Desert Woman with Mustache, Cooloman and Pretty Clothes, Winner of the 2021 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize
Published 5 November 2021
The inaugural exhibition at the new Woollahra Gallery at Redleaf, opened on 4 November, and celebrates the 20th anniversary of the renowned Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, with a diverse and exciting collection of previous winners alongside this year’s finalists.
The winner of this year’s Prize is Desert Woman with Mustache, Cooloman and Pretty Clothes, by Rhonda Sharpe. The intricate and colourful sculpture was made using bush dyed woollen blanket embellished with wool and cotton.
Rhonda is a Luritja woman who grew up in Alice Springs. She discovered an interest and passion for making soft sculptures when she followed her aunty into the Yarrenyty Arltere art room one day. Rhonda says that her work is inspired by what she experiences in her daily life, by watching the other artists in the art room and by and by remembering stories from when she was young.
“We always go looking for goanna and bush foods together, this makes us feel really happy. Sometimes a woman might get a mustache, but that doesn’t matter. We all family. I always used to wear pretty clothes like this when I was a young girl. I don’t have photos of me so I do sewing instead. I feel proud when I see my work, it makes me happy and it’s good if it makes other people happy too or maybe they might think about some things about how Aboriginal people are really good at doing things. Like hunting and knowing culture, and making art and looking after each other and not laughing when someone is looking different and always sharing everything,” Rhonda said in her statement about the piece.
The inaugural exhibition features the 52 finalists of the 20th Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize - each measuring up to 80cm in any dimension – created by artists from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Kate Coyne's Weight of the World on My Shoulders, Winner of the Mayor’s Award at this year's Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize.
The 20th anniversary exhibition will feature, for the first time, hanging sculptural pieces including winner of this year's Mayor’s Award, Kate Coyne's Weight of the World on My Shoulders.
Sydney-artist Mechelle Bounpraseuth was awarded the Special Commendation, Caroline Rothwell's Faucet Palm was awarded the Plinth Prize and second-time finalist Michael Harrell was Highly Commended.
Mechelle Bounpraseuth's Parents from Laos was awarded the Special Commendation.
Voting is now open for the annual Viewers’ Choice Award and visitors to the gallery are encouraged to cast their vote.
Michael Harrell's Politics was Highly Commended in this year's Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize.
Established in 2001 and presented by Woollahra Council, the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize is Australia’s pre-eminent award for small sculpture.
Entries must be an original, freestanding sculpture of up to 80cm in any dimension. The winner of The Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize each year becomes part of Council's permanent public collection, which will remain on display year round for the community to enjoy for free.
Caroline Rothwell's Faucet Palm, Winner of the Plinth Prize at this year's Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize
The Woollahra Gallery at Redleaf is located at 548 New South Head Road, Double Bay.
Open Wednesday - Friday, 10am - 6pm and Saturday and Sunday, 10am - 5pm.
Admission is free.
A big thank you to all our sponsors
We are very grateful for the ongoing support of our generous sponsors for The Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize:
John Symond AM
Laing and Simmons Double Bay
Woollahra News e-newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter Woollahra News and get updates delivered straight to your inbox.