Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award 2023


A Kyamba Foundation Project

10 June - 20 August 2023

Gallery 1


This nationally acclaimed biennial acquisitive prize exhibition celebrates the diversity and strength of Australian textile art. Building on Wangaratta's long and prominent history of textile manufacturing, and craft making, the Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award furthers this unique tradition and social history by elevating and promoting the development of contemporary textile practice in Australia. 

Now in its eighth year, 2023 saw a significant increase in the award’s prize money from $10,000 to $40,000. Thanks to the generous investment of partners, the Kyamba Foundation, the award presents excellence in textile practice from across the nation. 


The 2023 Award exhibition featured 29 finalists selected from over 300 entries. Finalists include: Tia Ansell, Julia Boros, Glennys Briggs, Evangeline Cachinero, Carolyn Cardiney, Fiona Currey-Billyard, Mary Dhapalany, Sepideh Farzam, Stevie Fieldsend, Fiona Foley, Agnieszka Golda, Tim Gresham, Blake Griffiths, Treahna Hamm, Amanda Ho, Camille Laddawan, Susie Losch, Kyra Mancktelow, Dani Marti, Louise Meuwissen, Jennifer Robertson, Todd Robinson, Britt Salt, Donna Sgro, Ema Shin, Hiromi Tango, Tara Whalley, Yarrabah Arts & Cultural Precinct and Sairi Yoshizawa.



This year’s finalists were selected by Yorta Yorta curator Belinda Briggs, Shepparton Art Museum and Nanette Orly, Curator, Murray Art Museum Albury. Judging the Award this year was Dr Rebecca Coates, an accomplished museum director, curator, public speaker, writer, and lecturer.


Sepideh Farzam, a Sydney based Iranian contemporary artist, was the recipient of the prestigious $40,000 biennial acquisitive Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award for 2023 for her work Losing Eyes for Freedom, 2023. 

The collaborative work was driven by the Farzam’s observation and deep concern around the ongoing discrimination and severe restrictions of women’s rights in Iran. The work is inspired by the recent protests by women on the streets of Iran, following the death in police custody of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, who was detained by the morality police for wearing her hijab or hair covering incorrectly. As a result, hundreds of people have been killed and thousands more imprisoned for demonstrating against the regime. Protesters have been violently attacked, and 500 were blinded as a consequence. 

Inspired by these terrible events, Sepideh Farzam commissioned a craft-woman (unnamed) to hand weave a carpet representing the young women hand in hand. Farzam then hand-stitched waxed threads through each girls’ face to represent the bleeding and blind eyes. 

Kyra Mancktelow was the recipient of the Highly Commended Ruth Amery Award for her work, One continuous string, 2021.

Kyra Mancktelow, is a Brisbane based Quandamooka woman with links to the Mardigan people of Cunnamulla. Her practice investigates legacies of colonialism, posing important questions such as how we remember and acknowledge Indigenous histories. In the highly commended work, Mancktelow recreates the uniforms First Nations children were forced to wear at Moongalba (Myora mission). The attempt at assimilation was weakened by continuing traditional weaving practices.  




A beautiful catalogue featuring the year's finalist works is available in hardcopy and online.

Read the catalogue.

Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award 2023 opening and award announcement, Wangaratta Art Gallery, 2023. Photos Marc Bongers.