Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award

We're delighted to announce the five shortlisted artists who will present exhibitions in the 2015 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award. With a $50,000 prize awarded to one of the artists this August, the biennial Award is the premier Australian ceramic art prize.

The 2015 shortlisted artists are:

Penny Byrne

Ruth Hutchinson

Sanné Mestrom

Adam John Cullen

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran           

The 2015 Australian Ceramic Art Award attracted 100 Australian artists from exemplary master potters through to contemporary artists exploring ceramic traditions and the medium's potential for intervention in a range of aesthetic and political endeavours. It was a fantastic field of applicants and proposed exhibitions.

Each of the winning artists will be commissioned to produce an exhibition of new work for display at SAM from 22 August to 22 November 2015. The artists will also travel to Shepparton to give presentations and run master-classes for local and visiting artists on the celebratory opening and announcement day of 22 August.

The Award was judged by SAM Director Kirsten Paisley and Rebecca Frances Coates. Rebecca is an independent curator and writer. She lectures in Art History and Art Curatorship, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne and was awarded a PhD in Art History from the University of Melbourne in 2013.  She is Associate Curator at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, where she has curated over forty exhibitions, and worked extensively as a curator in Australia and overseas. 

SAM Director Kirsten Paisley said: The five shortlisted artists are exemplary artists, each building and contributing to the use of ceramics as a medium. Their practices span historical cultural themes, revisit modernist concerns, delve into social issues and moreover each challenge our understanding of ceramic art and its positioning within contemporary practice. In this suite of five exhibitions ceramics as a process medium, a collaborative medium collided with other materials and as a material with technical limitations and extraordinary capabilities its own right will be evidenced. I congratulate each of the artists for being shortlisted for the 2015 Australian ceramic art award and look forward to working with them.

Rebecca Coates said: This year's entrants provided rich and varied work.  Within a contemporary context, each of the five artists selected encourages us to rethink ceramics as a form. Their themes include creative genius and identity, kitsch and global warfare. They repurpose technical materials such as dental porcelain, and revise Modernist art histories. Each of the artists extends our understanding of what ceramics can be, and in turn, how we live and work.

Exhibition Dates: Saturday 22 August 2015 to 22 November 2015
Official Opening: Saturday 22 August, 6pm - to be officially opened by Mr Sidney Myer AM
Artist Presentations & Master Classes: Saturday 22 August, from 10am to 3.30pm see for more detail.

Entries for the 2015 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award (SMFACA) are now closed.  Watch a vignette of the 2012 SMFACA winner Kirsten Coelho here:


Applications open Friday 30 January 2015
Applications close Friday 20 March 2015, 4pm EST
Artists advised of selection Wednesday 8 April 2015 (Approx. 4 months to installation)
Delivery for delivery of works to SAM Friday 7 August 2015
Installation period Monday 10 August to Friday 21 August 2015
Exhibition opening, prize announcement Saturday 22 August 2015
Seminar and workshops Saturday 22 August 2015
Exhibition Dates Saturday 22 August to Sunday 22 November 2015
Artworks dispatched for return to artists December 2015


The Sidney Myer Fund International Ceramic Art Award in association with La Trobe University was established by Shepparton Art Museum in 1997 to provide an unprecedented opportunity for a major international ceramic award and exhibition in Australia. This bi-annual award developed from the Sidney Myer Fund Australia Day Ceramic Award, a national prize established in 1991. In 2009 the award developed again to offer better career development opportunities for Australian Ceramicists, more strategic collecting for the Art Museum and allow greater depth to the exhibition and associated publishing. This award has offered Australian audiences the opportunity to view contemporary ceramic art from around the globe for over ten years. The supporting seminar and master-class workshops provide a unique platform for cross-cultural learning and exchange.


We regret to inform international artists that the Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award is now only open to Australian citizens. We are grateful to previous participants of the SMFACA, and hope you will stay engaged with the outcomes of the Award.