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The inaugural Deakin University Contemporary Small Sculpture Award was awarded to Stephen Benwell of St Kilda for his work titled, Statue, Grey-Pink Man.
A delicate sculpture made of clay and standing only 23.5cm tall, the work was selected unanimously by the judging panel which consisted of Jason Smith, Director Heide Museum of Modern Art, Robert Lindsay, Director McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park and Leanne Willis, Manager Art Collection and Galleries, Deakin University.
The prize of $10,000 was sponsored by the School of Management and Marketing at Deakin University. The prize is acquisitive with the winning work going into the Deakin University Art Collection.
Deakin University's Chair in Arts and Entertainment Management, Professor Ruth Rentschler, said Stephen is a well respected artist whose work is represented in many public and private collections including the Art Gallery of South Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and the National Gallery of Australia.
Stephen has always been best known as a ceramist however his work has evolved in recent years to include small, delicate sculptural pieces that reflect his ongoing interest in miniature and classical sculpture, she said.
When accepting the award Stephen said he was absolutely thrilled and excited.
The 37 finalists were selected from 126 entries for the 2009 Award.