25 February 2021

I recently attended the awarding of the 66th Blake Prize, proudly hosted by Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in my electorate. Running since 1951, the Blake Prize, named for William Blake, the famous 18th century artist and poet, threads religious images with the artistic. The prize encourages contemporary artists of various styles to tackle the nature of faith, spirituality, religion, humanity and belief. This year's prize attracted a record number of entries, no doubt due to the many hours that artists, like many of us, spent over the previous year pondering life's big questions. Casula and Werriwa are ideally positioned to host the prestigious art prize. We have a community made up of 150 different birthplaces, 140 languages and an equally diverse range of faiths.

I'm proud to say that the winners in all three prize categories this year were women. The Established Artist Residency went to Zanny Begg for her work Stories of Kannagi. Eddie Abd took out the Emerging Artist Prize for her work In Their Finest. The big one, the $35,000 Blake Prize, was awarded to Leyla Stevens for her artwork Kidung/Lament, a truly amazing artwork. The exhibition runs until 11 April. I encourage everyone to get along.