Video Art wins $25K Whyalla Art Prize for first time

For the first time since its inception in 1972, a video work has won the Whyalla Art Prize. Regional South Australia-based artist CJ Taylor has won the $25,000 Prize with a video artwork titled The Hut (5/4). It is the second time video artwork has been included as an option for entrants and the first time this medium has won.

Taylor’s was chosen out of 55 finalists from the 206 entrants from across the country. The finalists’ work included a variety of wall-based mediums such as oil, water colour and acrylic on canvas, board and wood, video-based art works and even some unusual ones like garden hoses.

An excerpt of CJ Taylor’s award winning work is available for viewing below.

The Hut (5/4) – excerpt from CJ Taylor on Vimeo.

“I’m thrilled that the work has been recognised, not only because of the strength and depth of work from the other finalists, but also because of my respect for the judges who selected it,” said Taylor, who is from Prospect Hill, near Kuitpo Forrest.

“Video art has claimed its own place in contemporary art. It’s extremely gratifying that video work is now included in this respected award.”

The judges of this year’s prize were the Art Gallery of South Australia’s inaugural Curator of Contemporary Art, Leigh Robb; Director of the Riddoch Art Gallery, Dr Melentie Pandilovski and Paul Snell, winner of the 2015 Whyalla Art Prize.

“The Hut (5/4) by CJ Taylor was selected unanimously as the winner of the 2017 Whyalla Art Prize,” said the judges.

“CJ Taylor’s genre-defying video is cinematic in atmosphere, poetic in sentiment and painterly in palette. A sophisticated moving image work full of Renaissance motifs, it was filmed in multiple locations around the world from the haunting South Australian desert to the reaches of the Shetland islands. This powerful and emotive screen work collapses history and geography in an original contemporary gothic story.

Video has long been exhibited and collected since the 80s. The moving image has become an important art form, communication channel and storytelling platform for the 21st century.”

The Prize was originally established by the Whyalla Arts Council in 1972 with the purpose of promoting regional emerging artists, but has since grown to attract entrants from right around Australia, putting this region of South Australia under a national arts spotlight every two years. Country Arts SA delivers and manages the Prize.


For the first time this year, a selection of works from the finalists will be on display at the Adelaide Airport from mid-December until late January 2018. This will provide finalists with international exposure from a wide variety of foot traffic at the capital city’s only airport during the busy holiday period.


Artist Statement – Whyalla Art Prize 2017
The Hut (5/4) is set in a ‘nowherescape’, a liminal hinterland of collapsible time that is at once bittersweet, life-affirming and deadly. This photo-cinematic project features unique techniques that intimate depth in photography. The work embodies the idea of ‘Elastic Photography’ that sits between the stilled film and the filmic still, reality and illusion, analogue and digital.

This project includes work created in South Australia, the ACT, the United States and the Outer Hebrides and Shetland Islands of Scotland and artefacts photographed in the Adelaide Civic Collection, The South Australian Museum and the National Museum of Australia.
CJ Taylor 2017