Artists shortlisted for the 2021 Footscray Art Prize

Published on 29 March 2021

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Over 170 works from across Australia have been shortlisted in three categories for the esteemed Footscray Art Prize and will be on display from 7 May – 5 June at Footscray Community Arts Centre and VU at MetroWest.

The judging panel – formed by NGV Curator Myles Russell-Cook, VCA lecturer Vikki McInnes and former Director of Heide Kirsty Grant – selected the shortlisted works following a review of over 830 entries, a record number of entries for the third iteration of the biennial Prize.

"What a joy it was to see the breadth and depth of entries into this year’s FAP, and what a shame we couldn’t include every single one in the exhibition. Heartfelt thanks to all of the artists for holding their nerve during these most challenging of times, and hearty congratulations to all the finalists — it’s going to be quite a show!” - Judge, Vikki McInnes

39 artworks were shortlisted in the main category, three in the street art category, and 160 artworks from the young artist categories will be exhibited.

Mediums range from a cardboard protest sign to geographical core samples and a hologram device to delicate ceramic porcelain with recurring themes of isolation and relationships.

“The entries provided a fascinating glimpse into contemporary creative practice around the country, both in terms of trends in the material means artists are working with, and the issues that are most relevant.” - Judge, Kirsty Grant

Megan Evans has made the shortlist for a second year in a row with an intricately beaded piece, Layla Vardo will show David Attenborough in a new light through her video, and David Cox, an artist from the Warmun Art Centre who reimagines ways of communicating his Dreaming stories, are just a few of the emerging and established artists to be featured in the exhibition.

“Following lockdown, and a year when many artists were forced to adapt their practice to work in new ways and often under extreme circumstances, each of the entries is a testament to the power of all artists creativity during difficult times.” - Judge, Myles Russell-Cook

Shortlisted artists go into the running for a total cash prize pool of $28,000, including the coveted $10,000 main prize and new $10,000 Local Acquisition Prize, with winners announced on Friday 7 May at the exhibition opening night.

The biennial prize is a unique collaboration between Victoria University, Maribyrnong City Council, Footscray Community Arts Centre and the Rotary Club of Footscray, who share a commitment to demonstrating and promoting creativity, cultural achievements and the arts.

For more information about the upcoming exhibition and to view a list of shortlisted artists, visit

A word from the Mayor, Cr Michael Clarke:

“Footscray is a thriving creative hub, and has developed an enviable reputation as a centre of arts and culture, which has been reflected in the success of the Footscray Art Prize to date.

This year, a new sub-category supported by Maribyrnong City Council has been added to the Prize to celebrate and acknowledge local artists. The winning work of the Local Artist Acquisition Prize will be added to Maribyrnong City Council’s Art and Heritage Collection and be exhibited at Footscray Town Hall or other Council facilities. The works shortlisted have been  selected based on key themes, including our environment, people, growth, identity, and culture.

We look forward to hosting the work of talented artists from across Australia here in Footscray once again!”

 Exhibition details

Footscray Art Prize & Street Art Prize shortlist exhibition

Footscray Community Arts Centre

45 Moreland Street, Footscray

Exhibition opening: 6 – 8pm Friday 7 May

Announcements from 6:30pm

Young Artists Prize

VU at MetroWest
148 Nicholson Street, Footscray

Exhibition opening: 4:30 – 6pm

Announcements from 5:15pm

The exhibition at both locations will be held from Friday 7 May – Saturday 5 June.