A light bulb moment for sculpture award winner

DHT Winner

Winner of the 2017 David Harold Tribe Sculpture Award: Ciaran Begley, Bulb #4 (Object as Image), 2016.

A sculptor who also sees himself as an amateur physicist has won the 2017 David Harold Tribe Sculpture Award. Ciaran Begley received the $12,000 prize at the opening of the SCA exhibition showcasing 16 finalists of this year’s national sculpture award.

The Sydney-based artist, who completed a Master of Fine Arts at SCA last year, uses elements of physics such as light, heat, electricity and optics as the basis of his art experiments, which cross over into the world of physics but cling to aesthetic interests.

Ciaran Begley’s winning work, Bulb #4, uses a simple projection of light from a bulb through a camera lens to project a lightbulb image on a screen. “My work evolved when I stumbled across the projection of a light bulb while changing the lens of a slide projector. Using the reversible nature of a camera lens, I was able to project the image of a light fitting by placing a camera over the bulb of a desk lamp.

“Although the image and the object are separated by 2 metres and 0.0000000066712819 seconds, they co-exist in time and space, presenting theoretical physics as a mutable aesthetic reality,” said Ciaran.

SCA Acting Director Professor Harris and Chair of the judging panel said that arriving at the final shortlist for the award was not easy, but the decision on the winner was unanimous. “The combination of creative imagination and impeccable execution in Bulb #4 made Ciaran’s work stand out. It was an exhilarating task with an amazing range of entries, demonstrating the health of sculpture as a continually evolving practice,” she said.

Professor Harris was joined on this year’s judging panel by Dr Julie Ewington, a pre-eminent contemporary art specialist with Queensland Art Gallery; Hany Armanious, a well-recognised Australian artist in installation and sculpture; and the University of Sydney’s Associate Professor Jennifer Barrett, who has published widely and curated projects on museums, culture and the arts.

Set up in 2005, the annual arts award is made possible thanks to a donation by the late David Harold Tribe through the David Harold Tribe Charitable Foundation. The award seeks to support the often overlooked fields of symphony, sculpture, philosophy, poetry and short fiction in arts philanthropy.

David Harold Tribe sadly passed away in May this year. At the official opening of the SCA exhibition, Professor Harris recalled her meeting with him last year. “David Harold Tribe was a quiet, alert man who was deeply satisfied at being able to encourage emerging artists and thinkers across a range of disciplines. It’s a privilege to honour his memory,” she said.

The finalists, whose works are currently at SCA alongside Begley's, are: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Vicky Browne, Consuelo Cavaniglia, Stevie Fieldsend, Kath Fries, David Haines & Joyce Hinterding, Daniel Hollier, Anna John, Anna McMahon, Kirsten Perry, Niall Robb, Susanna Strati, Salote Tawale, Ben Terakes and Yeliz Yorulmaz.

The David Harold Tribe Sculpture Award exhibition is showing at SCA Galleries until 9 September.


Selection of works from the exhibition. L-R: Consuelo Cavaniglia, 'Untitled #5' (from the simultaneous spaces series), 2017. Courtesy the artist, Station Gallery, Melbourne, and Kronenberg Wright Artist Projects, Sydney; Niall Robb, Surface (Paradise), 2017; Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, The Omen, 2014. Courtesy the artist; Stevie Fieldsend, Twin Tatau, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Artereal Gallery, Sydney.