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Mandorla Art Award 2012

This year’s Mandorla Art Award had as its theme a passage from Galatians 4:4:

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law.”

The winner of the 2012 Mandorla Art Award was John Paul for his work Palm Sunday


The winner of the Mandorla Youth Art Award was Julian Poon for his work My beloved Son


Born of a woman, nurtured by her, freed by her and finally mourned by her is how Mandorla Art Award 2012 winner, John Paul, introduces his stunning artwork Palm Sunday.

Painstakingly executed in gouache and pastel, the drawing is set out like a 1950s cartoon where Jesus the alpha male has just roared up on his motorcycle, in this case his donkey. Other influences that make up this work are Roman sarcophagi and northern Renaissance engravings.

This extraordinary artist is joined by Highly Commended prize winners, Thelma Cluning and Roddy Darlington, and youth winner Julian Poon, with each demonstrating a depth of understanding of the theme “born of a woman” from St Paul’s letter to the Galatians 4:4, which tells of God’s intervention to redeem all humankind realised through the extraordinary relationship between God and a woman.

Judging the 16th Mandorla Art Award was a trio of highly esteemed judges – Drs Rod Pattenden, Rachael Kohn and Annette Pedersen – who said John Paul’s Palm Sunday looks like a medieval stone carving brought to life.

“He alludes to the Galatians text in an unexpected way. As Jesus rides into Jerusalem, his side curls signalling his Jewishness, a young woman at his side brings the emotional and physical connection to woman into a contemporary context.”

Commenting on the Highly Commended winners, the judges noted that Thelma Cluning’s, We Honour our Women, invites a deep contemplation of the passage from Galatians 4:4 and the lives of women past and present. “Subtle stitch, colour and texture with organic and geometric shapes create a richly symbolic and evocative work.”

Roddy Darlington’s Reverence shows that with respect, tenderness and stillness a mother and her child are caught in each other's gaze. “They are poised in a contemplative moment, inviting the viewer to consider their experience of the beauty of being human.”

Youth winner Julian Poon’s work My Beloved Son catches the eye and engages the viewer in a contemplation of one of the most profound moments in the Christian narrative. “The work shows integrity in both concept and in the execution of the design"

The winner of the main prize receives a prize of $25,000, while the two Highly Commended prize winners and the emerging young artist prize winner each take home the substantial sum of $5,000.

The Mandorla is acquisitive and so the winning artwork becomes the property of the interdenominational Mandorla Centre of Inner Peace and becomes the latest addition to the Mandorla permanent collection housed in the famous gallery at the Benedictine Abbey of New Norcia.

The winning youth artwork becomes the property of St John of God Health Care, the Mandorla Art Award’s major sponsor.

All 65 finalists will be exhibited at the Perth Town Hall from Saturday 11 August until Sunday 19 August 2012, from 10am to 4pm daily, after which Mandorla will tour a selection of these artworks at the New Norcia Museum and Art Gallery when the People’s Choice Prize will be announced.