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Emerging artist draws inspiration from kunanyi

One of Adam Howell’s favourite things to do is to hike in the Tasmanian wilderness and in particular on kunanyi, so it’s little surprise that enthusiasm has translated into a prize-winning painting for the emerging artist.

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Adam was named the University of Tasmania Student Prize winner at the Hadley Art Prize.

His landscape, titled Monolith, depicts the harsh rocky outcrops of kunanyi and the Wellington range.

“One of my favourite things to do is hike, especially surrounded by the awesome sub-alpine environment of kunanyi,” Adam said.

“Growing up, visiting the mountain was one of my favourite things to do, it’s where my love for the place began and now I get up to Mt Wellington every chance I get.

“I drew inspiration for this artwork from the characteristics of the unique dolerite rock formations that the mountain is so famous for. These ancient volcanic igneous rocks are symbolic of a passage of time defined through the build-up of lichen and moss clinging to its surface.”

Several University of Tasmania staff, students and alumni featured among the 35 finalists in the open section of the nationally recognised competition which celebrates excellence in contemporary landscape art.

They included 2018 winner and lecturer in Fine Arts Dr Neil Haddon, Jennifer Marshall, Anne Morrison, Alex Wanders, Wayne Brookes, Pat Brassington, Jane Burton, Belinda Casey, Sue Lovegrove, Milan Milojevic and Catherine Woo who won this year’s Packing Room prize.

Senior curator of art at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and Hadley’s Student Prize judge, Dr Mary Knights said that the field of emerging artists in the section was strong.

“Adam has created a powerful and dramatic landscape,” she said.

Artist Judy Watson, who was also one of the judges, agreed.

“Monolith is an interesting composition and viewpoint of powerful rock forms seen as this site on kunanyi,” she said.

“The painting attempts to capture the encrustation of lichen and accretions on the rocks with beautiful hovering cloud formations. It conjures up the majesty and presence of this place.”

Adam said the artwork furnished the underlying feelings he experienced in the presence of a greater power deriving from nature.

He said he hoped that people who saw the piece would establish an innate connection to the land of kunanyi in their mind.

Adam, who is currently completing Year 12 at Rosny College, said he was overwhelmed to find out he had won the Hadley Art Prize Student Prize.

“Being selected as a finalist for a national competition has influenced and inspired me to pursue a career in art,” he said.

“It was real confirmation for me that the future I have wanted for myself can become a possible reality.”

Image: Hadley’s Art Prize Student Prize winner Adam Howell was presented with his prize by University of Tasmania Fine Arts lecturer and 2018 Hadley’s Art Prize winner Neil Haddon.