Art2Words Writing Prize 2023

Posted on June 9, 2023

The Art2Words writing prize is an annual Friends’ School writing competition, based upon the Ancient Greek practice of ekphrasis: responding to an art work in words.

Art2Words involves students writing either a short story or poem in response to student art work. The art work which is inspiration for the creative writing is that of the winner of The Visual Arts Prize of the previous year.

The Friends’ Visual Arts Prize is an annual award, granted to a senior Art student for their consistently exceptional approach to their practice, rigour of their research, complexity and sophistication of the ideas and issues they explore, and the professional quality of their exhibited works.

The Joint Winners of the 2022 Visual Arts Prize were Mae Moe for her work ‘Mirrors of the East and West’, and Stella Yu, for her work ‘Floral Invasion’. Mae’s work explores the intertwining of folklore across Eastern and Western cultures . Her artworks incorporate plot points from cultural tales and art styles across the West and East, including watercolours, gouache and acrylics. The juxtaposition of beauty and destruction was central to Stella’s work, as she explored the lasting consequences of colonisation on Australian Botany and the impact of introduced species on ecosystems. Symmetry and repetition were formal qualities of Stella’s work, displayed as eurocentric wallpaper panels.

Art2Words is open to students in Years 7-12, and has two sections: Secondary (Years 7-9) and Senior Secondary (Years 10-12) with poetry and short story categories in each section. Entries are judged by a member of the editorial team of Tasmania’s Forty South magazine, which focuses on Tasmania, its people, places, artists, photographers and writers. The work of all short-listed entrants, including prize winners, will be published in the ‘Young Tasmania’ section of  Forty South’s online magazine, allowing them to gain local, national and international exposure and they receive a generous gift voucher from The Hobart Bookshop. 

In 2023, writers were invited to respond to the entire body of work or to one of the art works in either Mae Moe or Stella Yu’s exhibitions as the stimulus for their short story or poem. Writers could choose to be inspired by any combination of the chosen artist’s art works (images or objects), titles and artist’s statements. 

Chris Champion, Editor of Forty South, judged the Art2Word entries, and as always, found making definitive choices about the winners difficult due to the caliber of the entries. 

This year’s winners are:

Secondary Poetry Winner
‘The Voice of the Blackberry’ by Alice Evans (Year 9)

Secondary Short Story Winner
‘Spotlights and Lasers’ by Rowan Walker (Year 9)

Senior Secondary Poetry Winner
‘The Sound of Daisy Chains’ by Gipsy Rugen (Year 12)

Senior Secondary Short Story Winner
‘I Beg Your Garden?’ by Grace Winspear (Year 11)

Winners L-R: Grace Winspear, Gipsy Rugen, Alice Evans, Rowan Walker