Arts & Culture


JADA Winner 2018 Todd Fuller, Ode to Clarence, 2017/8. Mixed media animation on paper, 6.42 minutes. Courtesy May Space Gallery. Grafton Regional Gallery

Record-breaking number of entries for JADA

The Grafton Regional Gallery biennial drawing award has received a record 659 entries for the 2020 prize.  The Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award is one of Australia’s richest drawing awards and Gallery Director Niomi Sands said ‘We are delighted with the result in these challenging times. We have received entries from QLD, VIC, TAS, SA, and WA and there was a significant increase of artists entering from the Northern Rivers region.” 
The Gallery will launch the exhibition on Friday 2 October where Judge, Peter McKay will announce the winner of the $35,000 prize.  Peter is Curatorial Manager of Australian Art at Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art.
This award provides an opportunity for artists to further their art careers.  Each year the JADA finalist exhibition tours regional galleries nationally. JADA offers an artist great visibility beyond the single moment of the Award through the tour. One of the exciting elements of JADA is that, as an acquisitive prize, over the years it has documented the development of contemporary drawing practice in Australia and has captured how drawing has changed.  Sands said, “People have an affinity with drawing – they can relate to it – so the exhibition is always very popular with audiences.”  
Visitors to the Grafton Regional Gallery will be able to see the exhibition from 2 October – 22 November 2020.  The Gallery has visitor safety top of mind during the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions are in place.  People are encouraged to check opening times before they visit to avoid disappointment.

History and background of the JADA:
The Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award (JADA) has been the means by which the Grafton Regional Gallery has gathered a unique and impressive collection of contemporary Australian drawing. Since the establishment of the drawing acquisition prize in 1988 there has been over one hundred works acquired into the collection from leading, established and emerging artists.
In 1988 the Jacaranda Art Exhibition Prize was presented for the first time by the Grafton Regional Gallery with the support of the Jacaranda Art Society, as a specialised acquisitive Australian drawing prize.  The inaugural Director of the Gallery, Julian Faigen, made the decision to change the dynamics of the Jacaranda Society Art Prize from a various medium open prize with four sections to a specific award for drawing.
This decision recognised the need for regional galleries to specialise in their collections to allow for the development of identity, to reflect regional and historical difference, to encourage diversity and to reduce competition with other public institutions. 
In 1994 the Jacaranda Art Society exhibition became the Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award and formed into the structure it still holds today; a biennial award with entries selected by a panel of art professionals for exhibition from which the judge selects the acquisitive first prize and further acquisitions.
The Friends of the Gallery became the sole sponsors of a $5,000 first prize in 1998 with the gallery JADA fund allowing the $5,000 of further acquisitions of the award. Since then total prize money has increased with the 2020 prize increased to $35,000.

For more information about the current exhibitions and to stay up to date on the phased re-opening of the Grafton Regional Gallery visit and follow Grafton Regional Gallery on Facebook and Instagram.