Announced at Fed Square in Melbourne’s CBD this past Wednesday night, Maree Clarke’s vision of a three-to-four meter-long canoe comprised of 2O floating glass sections and patterned with microscopic river reeds earned her the esteemed Melbourne Urban Sculpture Prize for 2O23.

The award – an alternating annual prize that cycles through sculpture, music and literature every three years – recognises an artist’s body of work and how they will use the funds to build on their practice.

Earlier this year, Maree spent two months studying river reeds and taking microscopic images of their cross-sections at the University of Melbourne’s School of Biomedical Sciences before travelling to the USA to further explore the reed cross-section patterns through glass during an artist residency at Pilchuck Glass School in Washington.

The judges of the urban sculpture prize – artist Emily Floyd, First Nations curator Kate ten Buuren and National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) contemporary art curator Katharina Prugger – said Clarke secured the prize for her recent experimental work in glass as well as the pivotal role she has played in the Victorian First Nations art scene over the past three decades, where she has emerged as a leader in nurturing and promoting the diverse art forms practised by contemporary south-east Aboriginal artists.

Congratulations as well to the other three finalists, Kent Morris, Vipoo Srivilasa and Joy Zou.

We look forward with anticipation to seeing Maree’s vision realised.



Image: Wednesday evening’s announcement event at The Edge, Fed Square, Melbourne.

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