This year the Blake Society has teamed up with the MUA to award a $5,000 Blake Prize for Human Justice. This new award category will acknowledge and promote the work of artists highlighting issues of justice.
The Maritime Union of Australia will proudly sponsor the upcoming Blake Prize.
The Blake Prize calls for works which both explore and challenge the religious and spiritual in art.
It has proved controversial in recent years.
In 2008 a judge was reported to have resigned over his objections to a painting of the crucifixion. The triptych showed Christ on the cross with the inscription "only woman bleed", inspired by a line from an Alice Cooper song.
And in 2007 former PM John Howard took offence at artwork depicting a holographic image of Osama bin Laden that morphed into an image of Jesus Christ and a statue of the Virgin Mary shrouded in a burque. He described the artwork as "gratuitously offensive" .
This year the Blake has teamed up with the MUA to provide a $5,000 award acknowledging and promoting the work of an artist depicting human justice.
"The MUA has a long history of supporting social justice and human rights for communities both in Australia and internationally," said MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin. "As part of this tradition, the union has worked with artists and filmmakers since the 1950s to challenge the perceptions we have about the society in which we live. Our partnership with the Blake Society, allows the MUA to continue this tradition and provide artists with an opportunity to contribute to ongoing social debate".
Rev. Rod Pattenden, Chair, Blake Society, said, "We are excited about the expanding relevance of the Blake Prize in these troubled and changing times. Our culture needs people of imagination to redefine what it is to be human in the face of the these challenges and extend that into the territory of spirituality, justice and human hope. The Blake is proving to be a means of refreshing the social relevance of contemporary art."
At a packed launch of the Blake art prize season at the Australia Gallery in Paddington, last week, Rev Pattenden thanked the national secretary and the MUA for our involvement.
Last year the Maritime Union was a sponsor of Sculpture by the Sea, awarding "Tom Nelson (MUA) subsidies for artists highlighting social justice issues."
Entries for the 58th Blake Prize close on Friday 26 June, 2009.
Exhibition opening: Thursday 3 September
Exhibition: Friday 4 September - Saturday 3 October