Bayton Award winner announced

Published on 16 October 2023


Rockhampton Iranian-Australian artist Niloufar (Nellie) Lovegrove has been awarded The Bayton Award 2023 in a ceremony at Rockhampton Museum of Art (RMOA) over the weekend.

Her work Resonance of Freedom is a sculpture about the ongoing Iranian protests over women’s rights.

The work was chosen from 44 entries created by 39 artists residing in the Central Queensland region by judge Hamish Sawyer, a curator, writer and Acting Director for NorthSite in Gimuy/Cairns.

Mr Sawyer said of the winner: “A potent symbol of artistic freedom and self-expression, the decorated sitar, delicately balanced on a ponytail speaks to the oppression of women in Iran, and around the world. Its elegantly precarious form acts as a powerful reminder of female resistance, hope, and solidarity.”

A total of $18,000 will be given as prize money.

Niloufar Lovegrove will receive $10,000 in prize money.

In addition to the winner, prizes have been awarded for:

The Runner Up ($5,000): Chinese-Australian artist Hanbing (Lucy) Lu for Rockhampton Shan Shui, an artist book which uses a traditional watercolour method to represent the Rockhampton landscape.

Chris Warby Emerging Artist Bursary winners ($1,000 each):
Sweden-born Rockhampton resident Isabel Kroger for her portrait In the Studio.
Farnborough resident Lucy Thomasson for her oil painting The Balinese Fisherman.

People’s Choice Award ($1,000): To be awarded after public voting concludes at the end of the finalist exhibition in November.

Rockhampton Regional Council Mayor, Cr Tony Williams, said the award was an important initiative which recognised local artists within the region.

“We have some truly talented artists living within our region and the Bayton Award is an important institution which recognises and celebrates their talent, commitment and work,” Mayor Williams said.

“I want to thank all entrants in this year’s awards and in particular congratulate the 2023 awardee Niloufar (Nellie) Lovegrove.”

Rockhampton Regional Council Communities and Heritage spokesperson Cr Drew Wickerson congratulated the winners.

“This year’s Bayton Award has seen the biggest turnout of entrants from throughout the greater Central Queensland area ever received in this award’s decade-long history. It is a much sought-after art prize for regionally based artists and I am very pleased that Rockhampton Regional Council through Rockhampton Museum of Art is able to offer this opportunity,” he said.

“I would particularly like to congratulate the winners of the Chris Warby Emerging Artist Bursaries, Isabel Kroger and Lucy Thomasson. I hope that this prize will go some way to assist them as they develop and perfect their art form and I hope to see their works on display perhaps in a future Bayton Award,” he said.

Organised by Rockhampton Museum of Art (RMOA), The Bayton Award is open to artists working with all form of art media residing in Central Queensland, covering local government areas of Rockhampton, Livingstone, Gladstone, Banana, Woorabinda, Central Highlands, Isaac, Barcaldine, Blackall-Tambo, Longreach, Winton, Barcoo, Diamantina and Boulia.

Begun in 2012, The Bayton Award is an art prize named in honour of The Right Reverend John Bayton who was the Chair of Rockhampton Art Gallery’s Art Acquisition Fund in 1975. An artist in his own right, he was instrumental in establishing Rockhampton’s collection of nationally significant artworks, together with Mayor Rex Pilbeam, architect Neil McKendry and Rockhampton Art Gallery Director Don Taylor.

The Bayton Award this year includes The Chris Warby Emerging Artist Bursaries of $1,000 each. The new bursaries are provided by the Warby family in honour of Chris Warby, a young local artist who was tragically killed in October 1971.

Shortlisted entries were selected by visual arts experts from outside Central Queensland, Freja Carmichael, Quandamooka woman and independent curator in Meanjin/Brisbane; and Stephen Bird, artist and Lecturer at Byron School of Art.

The Bayton Award 2023 Finalist Exhibition will be on display until 26 November at Rockhampton Museum of Art. Artworks will be for sale.

Entry is free. More information:

Rockhampton Museum of Art is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council.

The Bayton Award 2023 winner Niloufar (Nellie) Lovegrove (3rd from left) with her winning artwork, Resonance of Freedom, standing with judge Hamish Sawyer, RMOA Director Jonathan McBurnie, Deputy Mayor Neil Fisher, Cr Cherie Rutherford, Cr Shane Latcham and Cr Donna Kirkland. Photo: Amble Folk.