Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Well, the Canberra Critics’ Circle’s biggest event for the year is over.

THE 2009 ACT ARTS AWARDS took place at the new Belconnen Arts Centre on Tuesday November 24, with what centre staff estimated to be a crowd of 140-160 in attendance. Many of those present, leaders in all the different art forms honoured on the occasion, had not visited the centre and were happy to be taken on guided tours of the arts facilities. Among those in attendance were former Artists of the Year Judith Clingan, Klaus Moje, Helen Geier, Peter J. Casey, Timoshenko Aslanides, Roberts Boynes and Vivienne Winther.

At the function the 19th Canberra Critics Circle Awards were presented by Robyn Archer; the MEAA Green Room Prize by Michael White; and Artist of the Year, sponsored by Citynews, by ACT Chief and Arts Minister Jon Stanhope

A daring Canberra artist who has made the naked human body her art medium was named 2009 Citynews Artist of the Year.

Min Mae, 33, of Ainslie is a busy single mother who also choreographs and dances for the Radiance women's dance company, and was described by one judge as “a philosopher who takes the big questions in life and explores the possible answers to them by using the body."

Min Mae received a cheque to the value of $1,000 from the ACT Chief and Arts Minister Jon Stanhope, along with a painting by former public servant-turned artist Roger Beale, presented and donated by Solander Gallery owner Joy Warren.

The artist believes that her artworks are empowering, not exploitative. "Nudity is essentially human…my medium is living flesh,” she says. Her tableau forms are stunning, and most appealing to the human eye. She uses the body to explore her ideas including death, poetry, the subconscious and even art movements.

At the ceremony, hosted by a former Artist of the Year Peter J. Casey, Michael White from the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance announced the 2009 Green Room Award, which went to actor Oliver Baudert and a Peer Recognition Award to Street Theatre director Caroline Stacey.

Mr Stanhope announced a Special Critics’ Award to retiring gallery owner Helen Maxwell, praised for her support of women, local and indigenous artists.

Robyn Archer, before presenting the 2009 Canberra Critics’ Circle awards, spoke of the crisis confronting arts criticism in the face of the democratising influence of the blog and other media outlets allowing everyone to have a say. In her view it was important to have a body of commentators on the arts who could claim some authority, not just opinion.

The 2009 Canberra Critics’ Circle awards went to artists Johannes Kuhnen and Gilbert Riedelbauch, Julie Ryder, curator Geoffrey Farquhar-Still, writers Tatjana Lukic (posthumous), Omar Musa, Julian Fleetwood, Kel Robertson, Jackie French, John Dargavel., film-maker Andrew Pike, choreographers Sandra Griffin and Michelle Heine, theatre directors Geoffrey Borny, Cathie Clelland and Kate Shearer, playwright David Finnigan, designer Gillian Schwab, Papermoon productions, actors Graham Robertson, Tim Sekuless, Jordan Best, Helen Brajkovic and Lexi Sekuless, singers Moya Simpson and Karen Fitzgibbon, conductor-singer Tobias Cole, composer Tim Hansen and musical directors Robyn Holmes and Vincent Plush. (The full citation list will be posted separately)
Helen Musa for the CCC