Fresh focus on Bentley art show

Cathy Adams

THE tiny community of Bentley is now synonymous with the massive community uprising against gas mining in the Northern Rivers.

Prior to that was known, in much smaller circles, as somewhere that held an annual art prize that punched well above its weight.

Now in its 30th year, the Bentley Art Prize attracts about 700 entries all competing for $8000 in prize money across 13 categories.

This year the two have come together with numerous paintings and photos.

But taking out the coveted Tursa Open Painting prize, worth $1000, was Ken Swan from Lismore for a painting called Our Promised Land that depicts water birds in a rainforest setting from several perspectives.

Judge, Janice Hunter, an artist who grew up in the region now based in Victoria, said she was very impressed by the quality and variety of the work submitted.

She said it was very difficult to pick a winner.

"But this speaks of the area, it is a very delicate interpretation of the landscape, with both close up and distant views. It is a highly accomplished painting," she said.

The Casino RSM Acquisition prize, also worth $1000, went to Grafton's Liz Slater for her underwater perspective of the Great Barrier Reef called Fish Eye View.

"It really show's how precious and beautiful it is," Mrs Hunter said.

Liz Slater also took out the drawing prize which had to have a seascape theme for a work called After the Storm.

Winner of the Aboriginal painting section was Daphne Dux Kal Ma Kuta for her piece called My Dreamtime.

The winners for all categories will be presented today at Bentley Hall from 1pm.

The exhibition is open on Saturday from 9-5pm and on Sunday from 9-3pm.

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