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Object-er Alex wins Emerging Australian Ceramic Award

For over ten years, the Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award has recognised outstanding talent in the field of ceramics. This bi-annual acquisitive award is presented in partnership with the Shepparton Art Museum and this year boasted an expanded prize pool of $55,000. The award is comprised of three categories — Emerging Australian, Australian and International — with each recipient receiving a significant stipend to produce a body of work for exhibition at Shepparton Art Museum in September of this year.

This year, the Emerging Australian award was won by Alexandra Standen, a fantastic young artist based in Sydney, who in her spare time can be found greeting visitors at Object Gallery!

Here, we take five minutes to ask Alex a few questions about winning the award, what it all means, and where to from here!

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Congratulations! What a fantastic achievement! Can you tell us about your winning work?
Thanks, I am still a little in disbelief. This has been such an exciting development for me at this stage in my career. The work I entered in the Sidney Myer Award is a work in progress. It will be a series of wall installations based on a hand built porcelain Ladder. This is a project that I explored a bit at the end of my Honours year at National Art School last year. The ladders will be small glazed and unglazed units that, when installed together, make up a bigger picture. The symbolism of the ladders first came out of a story by Italo Calvino. The story describes how a group of people discovered the could climb onto the moon by rowing out into the middle of the ocean and holding a tall ladder up in the boat. This was a beautiful fold story about love and obsession.

What does winning this award mean for you and your practice?
This award has allowed me to think more freely about what I want to make. I can think on a grander cale than before and explore new clay and glazes. It also gives a great encouragement burst.

When did you first start working with ceramics? Can you tell us a little bit about your background, where you studied etc?
I arrived at the National Art School in 2008 to explore an artistic side and just found clay. It has been my main medium to work with ever since. I finished my Honours majoring in Ceramics at the end of last year and have been working in the potter at Sturt in Mittagong since February.

Where would you most love to exhibit your work in the world?
I still need to find my feet as an artist so the idea of exhibiting anywhere is such a daunting prospect. Ultimately I want to travel quite a bit overseas and draw from experiences and people… an exhibition here and there along the way would be amazing!

For further perusing, why not head over to Object on iTunes U and hear Alex’s thoughts on HYPERCLAY: Contemporary Ceramics artist Stephen Bird.

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