the churchie emerging art prize
  • Image: Joel Spring, 'TERRA- memory + soil', 2022. In collaboration with Victoria Pham. Installation view, West Space, Melbourne. Photo: Janelle Low.

  • Image: Amanda Bennetts, 'The Spectacle of the Antagonist', 2022. Multi-channel video. Installation view, Metro Arts, Brisbane. Image: Louis Lim.

  • Image: Melody Paloma, 'Kitsch Sites' (video still), 2023. Courtesy the artist.

  • Image: Jess Tan, 'sssssquirl', 2022. Wood, staples, coloured pencils, texta, dried grape vine, wire, pressed bougainvillea flowers, popcorn, plastic flower beads, bougainvillea branches and liquid beeswax, 110cm x 79cm. Courtesy the artist and Sweet Pea, Perth. Photo: Jack Ball.

  • Image: Alrey Batol, 'Potbelly Heater', 2022. Site-specific sculpture, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist.

  • Image: Debbie Taylor-Worley, 'Sorrow', 2022. Clay, glaze, possum skin, ash. Courtesy the artist.


the churchie emerging art prize


27 May–19 August 202327 May–19 Aug 2023


Since its inception at the Anglican Church Grammar School in 1987, the churchie emerging art prize has sought to identify and profile rising artistic talent. It is now known as one of Australia’s leading prizes for emerging artists.

Presented at the Institute of Modern Art since 2019, the finalists’ exhibition surveys the compelling and diverse work being produced by early-career artists today.

Curated by Sebastian Henry-Jones, this year’s exhibition features works by thirteen finalists from across Australia in an exploration of the theme of context.

Thanks to generous supporters, ‘the churchie’ offers a $25,000 prize pool, with the Major Prize winner receiving a non-acquisitive $15,000 cash prize donated by long-standing sponsor, BSPN Architecture.

As this year’s guest judge, we welcome Tara McDowell, Associate Professor and Director of Curatorial Practice at Monash University.

Gallery visitors are invited to cast their vote in the $3,000 People’s Choice Award, sponsored by Madison Cleaning Services, which will be awarded at the end of the exhibition. One lucky voter will win a two-night stay courtesy of Spicers Retreats.


Alrey Batol, Amanda Bennetts, Dylan Bolger, Luke Brennan, Matthew Brown, Raf McDonald, Corben Mudjandi, Melody Paloma, Roberta Joy Rich, Joel Spring, Jess Tan, Debbie Taylor Worley, and Ash Tower

Curated By
  • Sebastian Henry-Jones
Curator Bio

Sebastian Henry-Jones’ curatorial approach is led by an interest in DIY thinking. He looks to centre the needs, ideas and requirements of those that he works with, and so his practice is informed by striving for a personal ethics with sincerity, honest communication, learning, and poetry at its core.

Sebastian is the Curator at West Space, having worked as a Curatorial Assistant for the 22nd and 23nd editions of the Biennale of Sydney, NIRIN and rīvus. Sebastian has staged group exhibitions and independent projects across the East Coast of the continent. He is a co-founder of DIY and experimental arts platforms Desire Lines and Emerson, and former editor at Runway Journal. Seb graduated with a Masters of Art Curating in 2018 from the University of Sydney, and is currently based in Narrm/Melbourne.

The IMA acknowledges, thanks, and pays our deepest respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that we work with and the Country we work on.