30 Years of JADA
Presenting selected drawings from the Collection.
Since 1988, the JADA collection has traced the change and developing practice of contemporary Australian drawing. The range of works in this thirty year old collection reaches back to the essential role that drawing holds in human history.
Like other drawings, both little and well known, the subject matter in this collection is diverse and includes nature and shelter, faces and bodies, and connections into places both mental and physical.
The drawing award commenced in 1988 when the Jacaranda Art Prize (JAS) became the Jacaranda Art Society Acquisitive Drawing Exhibition and was presented for the first time by the Grafton Regional Gallery with the support of the Jacaranda Art Society.
The inaugural Director of the Gallery Julian Faigen made the decision to change the prize for 1988 from a general one with four sections to an acquisitive drawing prize with a $5,000 fund. This decision recognised the need for regional galleries to specialise in their collections to allow for the development of identity, to reflect regional and historical difference, to encourage diversity and to reduce competition with other public institutions.
In 1994 the JADA formed into the structure it still holds today with an acquisitive first prize and further acquisitions when sponsorship of $5,000 was gained from Telstra. The Friends of the Gallery became the major sponsors of a $5,000 first prize in 1998 with the gallery funding the $5,000 further acquisitions award. At the same time the JADA became selective with artists now invited to submit images of their entries. In 2000 the total prize money doubled to $20,000 and to celebrate the twenty years of the JADA the award was increased to $30,000.
Since 1998 the JADA Exhibition has toured throughout the eastern seaboard of Australia. Each award travels to seven to nine other regional and metropolitan galleries. The Gallery’s patron Ken Done made available his gallery in The Rocks, Sydney, for the tour until 2006 after which his gallery was refurbished into a smaller space.
The tour continues to flourish with demand for the exhibition remaining strong particularly for south east Queensland and New South Wales galleries. The educational value of the JADA – contemporary Australian drawing by over 40 artists – is recognised by the repeat booking by the University of the Sunshine Coast Gallery.
The JADA continues to maintain its edge set by the original Jacaranda Art Prize of being the richest regional drawing award in Australia. The contemporary Australian drawing collection developed from the award is nationally recognised for its significance. The award continues to encourage contemporary and innovative drawing and attracts on average 420 entries from which around 45 entries are selected by a panel of art professionals for the exhibition from which the judge selects the winner and further acquisitions.
Image Credit: Robert Moore Dry Clarence Landscape 2002 (Acquisition of the 2002 JADA)