Designed to attract some of Australia’s finest contemporary artists and high calibre works, The Waller Art Prize, an inaugural art prize and exhibition, was first held in October, 2018 at Trades Hall, Bendigo.
Every year the BendArts Festival invites artists to submit entries for the The Waller Art Prize. The most outstanding works, as judged by the selection panel, is awarded an non-acquisitive cash prize pool of $5,000. The Prize was initiated by in honour of Bendigo Artist & BendArts founder Hugh Waller (1959 - 2017).
Hugh John Waller
Hugh John Waller was born in Bendigo on the 23rd of October 1959.
In his early years as an artist, Hugh Waller channeled his creative energy into his chosen media for artistic expression – painting and printmaking, before and during the completion of a diploma in Fine Arts at the Bendigo College of Advanced Education.
From his early years in Bendigo working as an artist and musician he made a name for himself as an eclectic artist who pioneered a unique style of expression, which he then used to launch his career further when moving to live in Melbourne, where he lived and worked in the arts industry for the next 22 years.
Coinciding with a scene change from Melbourne to Bendigo in 2004, Hugh veered away from painting and printmaking after he discovered the potential of digital photography, and with it the artistic possibilities that it offered.
Having explored layers of texture, shapes and marks through printing and painting, he found that the transition to working with digital photography was a natural one. He started photo-digital work in his spare time, (the fact that Hugh was a full-time carer for his mother made it difficult to work at this full time) but once he realised its creative possibilities, digital photography became his preferred medium for artistic output and one which he practiced with great passion for the rest of his artistic career.
Alongside the large amount of visual material Hugh Waller produced was the creation of the now institutionalized artist group Bendarts. This Facebook based group was created and designed as a means by which the large artistic family of his home town of Bendigo and surrounds could interconnect and bring together the community of artists that lived here. This ‘family’ encompassed visual artists, performers, musicians of all ilk as well as writers and much more, all from varying age groups and backgrounds and which remains to this day a vital platform for creatives to speak to each other and share their passions.
Hugh Waller passed away after a short illness on the 16th of June 2017 and leaves a lasting legacy of giving to a community he dearly cared for.