Blake Prize

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The Blake Prize is an biannual art prize in Australia.[1] The prize was established in Sydney in 1949 as an incentive to raise the standard of religious art. Founded by R. Morley, the Reverend Michael Scott SJ (Headmaster of Campion Hall, Point Piper, and subsequently Rector of Aquinas College, University of Adelaide), and lawyer M. Tenison, it was named after the artist and poet William Blake. The first Blake Prize was won by Justin O'Brien in 1951.

The Blake Exhibitions have been a regular travelling exhibition around Australia, visiting various major cities and provincial galleries.

The award of the Blake Prize to Charles Bannon in 1954 for his "Judas Iscariot" was one of the most controversial in its history; this opened controversy over what constituted religious art and over "abstract expressionism" which threatened to overwhelm the exhibition.

In 2008 the Blake Society established the Blake Poetry Prize to link art and literature and to give Australian poets new possibilities to explore the nature of spirituality in the 21st century. The Blake Poetry Prize is presented in association with the New South Wales Writers' Centre.

The prize was administered by the Blake Society, in 2016 the Casula Powerhouse arts centre took over the prize now focuses on the broader spiritual arts rather than religious art.[2]

List of winners[edit]


  1. ^ Rebecca Somerville (November 2005). "Feature: Blake Prize". Contemporary. Australian Art Review. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 2 August 2007.
  2. ^ Centre, Casula Powerhouse Arts (1 January 2003). "The 64th Blake Prize". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Blake Prize Winner – £500 Prize To Teacher". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2 October 1964. p. 4. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  4. ^ "2009 Judges Comments – Blake Prize". Archived from the original on 2009-09-08.

See also[edit]