MISSION to Seafarers Victoria has announced the winners of the 2022 MSC Maritime Art Prize and Exhibition.

The maritime art exhibition is an annual art competition hosted at the heritage-listed mission building in Melbourne’s Docklands for more than 20 years.

This year, artists were invited to respond to the theme “the relationship of humanity to the sea” in their work for a share of $25,000 in prize money.

Seventy artworks were shortlisted from a highly competitive field, including a greater number of interstate artists than in previous years.

Submissions were judged by Paul Auckett, who specialises in Australian modern and contemporary fine art; Su Baker, director University of Melbourne’s Centre of Visual Arts; and Dr Graeme Williams who is involved in the art world as a curator, judge and patron and is a regular judge of the maritime art exhibition.

The judges said the exhibition’s theme exploring humanity’s relationship with the sea has been a long story in the history of art and one that can be interpreted in many ways.

“In the exhibition we see examples of the power of the ocean itself and of the human effort in actions and activities both for industry and pleasure, the human story, and the power of nature,” they said.

“All the artists in the exhibition have brought their own vision and skilful interpretation of the theme, through either a traditional lens or through a poignant human story, or indeed through the lens of visual experimentation.

“The winners and those commended should be warmly congratulated for their talent and vision and their continuing commitment to the eternal and glorious challenges of painting as both an ancient and a contemporary art.”

The winner of the 2022 Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) Maritime Art Award ($15,000) was Melbourne-based artist Original Smith, who submitted See Forever the Sea, a mixed media work on aluminium panel.

The Best Traditional Maritime Art Award, sponsored by Port Phillip Sea Pilots ($5000) went to John Woodland, the artist behind The Apprentice, which used watercolour on paper.

The winner of the Runner-Up Award, sponsored by Nevile & Co ($2000) was Mia Laing, who painted Bounded by Sea using oil on canvas.

The Emerging Artist Award, sponsored by Gulf Agency Company ($1000) went to Simon Brown, the creator of Tides, an oil on linen piece.

The People’s Choice Award sponsored by VICT ($2000) will be announced on Thursday 20 October following a voting process ending 16 October, the final day of the exhibition. Votes can be placed here.

See Forever the Sea by Original Smith. Image: Original Smith/MtS Victoria
The Apprentice by John Woodland. Image: John Woodland/MtS Victoria
Tides by Simon Brown. Image: Simon Brown/MtS Victoria