Art competition to focus on connection with community

Back to all stories

Art competition to focus on connection with community

“Just do it.” That is Ashley Fiona’s advice to any artist who is tempted to enter Palliative Care Australia’s (PCA) online art competition, launched today.

Ashley, who won the People’s Choice award last year, says she is “stoked and very honoured” to have been selected as a judge, along with last year’s overall winner, Anzara Clark, and artist Margaret Ambridge, who is exhibiting at PCA’s national conference.

Ashley, who was painting one of her porcelain ashkeepers when Palliative Matters called, said there was more to gain from the competition than just winning.

“Just do it. What is the worst thing that can happen? Even if you don’t win, you will have entered into a beautiful competition and had your artwork featured, so you might get some new followers from that. It’s a bit of exposure, but it is also really important subject matter that needs to be highlighted.

“If you entered last year, you should enter again.”

This year the competition’s theme is ‘Connection with Community’, which aims to showcase how many people living with serious illness are supported by their communities.

It’s a theme that resonates with Ashley, whose mother died when she was thirteen. She remembers the years afterwards as being a lonely and incredibly difficult time.

“Friends and family were around immediately afterwards for a couple of weeks. But then the phone calls stop and people stop visiting and we were left in a house we didn’t want to be in, filled with flowers and cards; we felt like we were in a funeral home.”

She encourages artists to draw on their personal experiences with death and dying when exploring the ‘Connection with Community’ theme.

For Ashley, the theme suggests selfless care and compassion, and the power of the individual.

“The theme is very broad. I think it covers many different forms of how an individual can be a part their community no matter what their background is. Everyone has the power to make a difference. It takes one person," says Ashley.

“If someone hasn’t had support from within the community when they needed it, then it might plant the seed for them to start or make a change. Their experiences might be the driving force and motivation to making things better for other families and individuals.”

The three judges will choose the competition’s overall winner, who will receive $1000 in prize money.

The people’s choice winner will be selected through an online voting process, and also win $1000.

The recipient of the Palliative Care Australia prize will see their artwork featured on marketing and promotional materials.

PCA CEO Liz Callaghan says entrants can submit a painting, drawing, photograph or object, along with a description of what the artwork means to them and how it relates to the theme.

“Talking about death is a part of life. Some people find it hard to express what they would like at the end of their life, so this competition is a great way for them to get their message across and connect with other people in the process,” she says.

“At the same time, it can help create social and cultural change around end-of-life discussions.”

The competition closes on July 31 and winners will be announced in late August.

To enter, and for more details, visit the Dying to Talk website