Deakin Art Gallery announces $10,000 Small Sculpture Award

Media release

24 November 2021

NSW sculptor Michael Le Grand has won this year's Deakin University Contemporary Small Sculpture Award with his work Transit.

Selected from a highly competitive field of 312 other entrants, Le Grand was announced as the winner of the annual $10,000 prize by Deakin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin during an online award ceremony held today.

This year marks the 11th anniversary of this annual acquisitive award, which makes a welcome return after being postponed last year. The Deakin University Contemporary Small Sculpture Award recognises small scale sculpture, with entries limited to 70cm in size in any direction.

Deakin University Art Gallery Senior Manager Leanne Willis said Le Grand's work was a "wholly resolved and beguiling spectacle", which captivated her and her fellow judges, including Geoffrey Edwards, a freelance curatorial consultant, arts lecturer and writer, and Jacquie Nichols-Reeves, Curator of the collections at City of Whitehorse.

"Michael Le Grand's sculpture practice has long been acclaimed for its formalist values and gestural structure," Ms Willis said.

"With this work, in spite of its diminutive scale, nothing is lost of the bold, architectural character usually associated with the artist's large scale works. Transit operates successfully in 'miniature' with its lucid twists and turns and vivid colour palette that are signature features of the artist’s oeuvre."

Ms Willis congratulated Le Grand on his win, and thanked the artists from every state and territory for their entries.

"It is wonderful to relaunch the Art Gallery exhibition program with such a strong and dynamic exhibition that provides a fascinating snapshot of contemporary Australian sculpture," Ms Willis said.

Professor Martin said the return of exhibitions such as the Small Sculpture Award was important for artists and audiences alike following the recent challenges of the pandemic.

"Universities are places of ideas, self-expression, challenge and debate. Maintaining and developing an art collection demonstrates our commitment to the advancement of the visual arts in Australia," Professor Martin said.

"It also reflects the cultural aspirations of Deakin University, our pursuit of innovation and excellence, and our desire to make a positive impact both socially and culturally."

Organised by the Art Collection and Galleries Unit at Deakin University, the 42 shortlisted entries of the 2021 Deakin University Contemporary Small Sculpture Award are now on display at the Deakin University Art Gallery at the Melbourne Burwood Campus until Wednesday 15 December 2021. Parking on campus is currently free.

Please note, our events are run in accordance with government and University guidelines. Only fully vaccinated visitors, students and staff may attend Deakin campuses and will be required to demonstrate evidence of their vaccination or approved medical exemption.

What: Deakin University Contemporary Small Sculpture Award
When: Tuesday 16 November – Wednesday 15 December, 2021
Gallery hours: Monday to Friday, 10am – 12.30pm, 1.30pm – 4pm

Where: Deakin University Art Gallery, Building FA, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood.

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'Transit” by Michael Le Grand, painted steel, winner of the 2021 Deakin University Contemporary Small Sculpture Award

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'Transit” by Michael Le Grand, painted steel, winner of the 2021 Deakin University Contemporary Small Sculpture Award

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