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 that emanates 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 closure of the main award, a selection of finalists will be exhibited at the famous New Norcia Museum and Art Gallery in the popular tourist destination of New Norcia, as 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 that is actually 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, 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.

Fr. Christopher Ross

“Mandorla has allowed me to use my organisational skills, combined with a deep interest in art, especially religious art, to foster creativity and tenacity in the committee.”

Fr. Ross has been an active member of the Mandorla committee – almost since its inception – and keeps the group focused on the underlying religious orientation of the Award. He is a priest in the Catholic Church and a member of the 13th century Florentine Order of The Servants of Mary (Servites).

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.”

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.

Kristy Gough

“The Mandorla Art Award attracts such a range of artists from all over Australia. I love meeting them and hearing about how they interpret the theme.”

Kristy brings a wealth of visual arts experience to the Mandorla Committee having worked in the industry for more than 15 years. She is a passionate advocate for artists and providing opportunities for them to further their artistic careers.

Maureen Sellick

” It has been exciting to see Mandorla grow and develop over the years.”

Maureen has a background in Social Work and has worked in advocacy, management and policy in a not for profit agency. She is currently Director of Coondle Art Presentations.

Michael Anderson

“The Mandorla Art Award provides a great opportunity to see Australian artists, across multiple mediums, sharing their responses to christian themes with the broader community, creating a new and often challenging dialogue.”

Michael is a chartered accountant, mediator and company director.  He has experience with the For Profit, Not for Profit and Government sectors. He has a passion for organisations and people, who work harmoniously with the broader community in challenging society, and nurturing  long term healthy growth.

Beth Harcourt

“Mandorla Art Award allows me the opportunity to give back to the community in deep and rewarding ways. It combines two important aspects of my life: art and spirituality.”

Beth has been a Visual Arts teacher in high schools for 35 years, encouraging teenagers to express their feelings and aspirations in innovative ways. She has written text books that support the delivery of Visual Arts courses at Upper Secondary level in Western Australia. Beth is also a birthright member of The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). She is also raising two awesome daughters.

Craig Collas

Craig is an ordained Uniting Church minister currently the minister of Wesley Uniting Church in the City.

He has a keen interest in the arts having sponsored the Stations of the Cross  exhibition at Wesley Uniting Church for the past three years as well as having studied art at Mitchell College of Advanced Education.

Other key areas of interest are; music, the environment, social inclusion, social justice, keen scuba divers and wannabe bird watchers taking great joy in thewonder of creation.

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. 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.”

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.