The Mandorla Art Award for contemporary religious art is Australia’s most significant thematic Christian art prize, attracting some of the country’s finest artists since its 1985 inception.

Mandorla (MAN-dor-la) is an Italian word meaning almond. It refers to an almond-shaped halo or aura that we find around the images of Jesus or Mary in Christian art and particularly in icons. It represents the light emanating from a divine being, or one very close to a divine being.

The Mandorla Art Award is held every two years in Perth, Western Australia, and for each award a different theme is chosen for artists to respond to.  See Past Winners for details of previous themes.

An exhibition of approximately 40 finalists is held in Perth where the prize winners are announced.  Following the exhibition of the Award, a selection of finalists tour to the famous New Norcia Museum and Art Gallery in the popular tourist destination of New Norcia, and to St John of God Health Care campuses in the Perth area.

Past winners include Mikaela Castledine (2018); Megan Robert (2016); Paul Kaptein (2014); John Paul 2012 and Anette Allman 2010.  Other notable winners include John Coburn (1996); Nigel Hewitt (1991, 1992); Brian McKay (1986, 2002); Michael Kane Taylor (2004) and Julie Dowling (2000) who was named the most collectible artist in Australia shortly after her win.

Run by a dedicated committee of volunteers who oversee all aspects of the awards, the not-for-profit Mandorla does not receive any Government funding but does have DGR status. It, therefore, relies entirely on sponsors and the good will of individuals for its survival.

Sponsorship and patronage from St John of God Health Care, the Catholic, Anglican and Uniting churches, and the Benedictine monks of New Norcia makes Mandorla a truly ecumenical award.

The Vision

The Mandorla Art Award offers artists and the public a new vision of a very old vision – the place of the Christian religion in art. It is the fulfilment of a dream held by a small group of committed Christians at the Mandorla Centre of Inner Peace.

Wishing to balance the largely secular nature of most art seen in today’s galleries, the Mandorla Art Award Committee selects a particular theme or passage from the Bible, Old or New Testaments.
This unique approach among Australian religious art prizes invites artists to think laterally and with sensitivity by interpreting this in two or three-dimensional works.

Each award sees around forty works selected as finalists – artworks which challenge viewers to embrace diversity and to view the world through different perspectives and sensibilities.

Lyn DiCiero

Lyn Di Ciero is a visual arts writer, curator and filmmaker who has curated numerous shows since the 1990s, including the City of Rockingham

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Castaways Sculpture Awards, which focuses on an environmental message through sculpture created from recycled materials, and the ongoing annual Soroptimist International of Fremantle Help the Homeless Art Auction which raises funds for critical services for the homeless and at-risk homeless in the community. She is also a former visual arts feature writer for The West Australian newspaper, and publisher of the Artist’s Chronicle, which celebrates its 30th year of publishing in 2021. Since 2013 she has also explored filmmaking as another form of storytelling in the visual arts, with her filmography including commissions from the Art Gallery of WA and St John John of God Health Care.

Dr. Angela McCarthy

“Religious art is critical to how we perceive the Gospel so the Mandorla Art Award’s contribution is religiously and nationally important.”

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Chair of the committee, Angela lectures in theology at the University of Notre Dame Australia. Her current area of research explores the connections between Scripture and art.

John Ward

Martin Loney

Mary Casotti

“As  a long time Art and Religious Education Educator and avid follower of the Mandoorla Art prize, I am excited to be working with the committee leading into the 2018 award.”

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Religion and art are closely connected, both products of the creative, the inspired, or the revealed imagination providing a contemporary snapshot for society.

Mary is an Educator, Artist and Photographer whose passion for the Arts spans many decades. Its genesis saw the Arts and Religion inextricably link with her vocation and mission for the spiritual and creative education of youth. A love of travel together with a passionate University Art History lecturer ignited a lifelong fascination with Religious art.

Rachelle Dusting

”I feel privileged to be part of such a dynamic and excellent group of arts and religious leaders with Mandorla and hope to contribute an energetic and fresh perspective for young emerging Christian artists within Australia.”

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Rachelle is a practicing Fine Artist and Art Instructor from Perth who is passionate about arts education and actively involved with the Young Adult community of Life City Church.

Connie Petrillo

Connie Petrillo is a Western Australian artist and curator who has completed doctoral studies at Curtin University, attained a Master of Curatorial Studies in Fine Arts and a Post Graduate Degree in Fine Arts both from the University of Western Australia,

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A Bachelor of Arts: Visual Arts majoring in Painting and Photo Media from Edith Cowan University and a Diploma in Art Studies from the Perth School of Art and Design. Connie has over 25 years experience in registration and curatorial management of art collections and has established a comprehensive network throughout Australia.

Connie Petrillo is currently Curator for the Saint John of God Health Care Art Collection.

Sylvia Grevel

Simeon Neo

Simone Micke