The Churchie Emerging Art Prize, in its 27th year, offers a competitive platform for emerging artists and reflects the Australian contemporary art scene.

Among the finalists are several from the 4101 area. Kate McKay is an oil painter who resides in West End. Her series Wilderness 1-10 captures her definition of the wild. I thought it’d be nice to sit down and chat with Kate about her art and her thoughts about West End’s art scene.

“I love making a series of paintings as it allows the viewer to create narratives and connections between each of the depicted landscapes” she said. Kate loves landscapes that can be painted with an intimate narrative. Her collection of photographs, Wilderness 1-10, feels as if one steps into a portal, seeing through portraits of different worlds.

She thinks Brisbane is a large enough city to have people interested in a thriving art community, while small enough for artists to be noticed. “I believe it is easier to garner attention in an area with many galleries (like the ones in 4101) as it makes it easy for people to see more art at one time,” she said. “Those who go to art galleries tend to visit several. This, in my mind, creates more exposure for artists.”

Kate believes it’s a fantastic opportunity for her and other emerging artists to have their work showcased in the finalist exhibition, she said when I asked about her being listed in the Churchie awards. “To be a finalist in the Churchie makes me feel that my work is both valid and appreciated within the contemporary art community. Competitions like this also give emerging artists exposure that they wouldn’t normally achieve through having their own organised shows as it draws lots of attention from the art community and the public.”

On 4 August, “The Churchie” awards announced the winners. Caitlin Franzmann won the $15,000 prize for Magical Thinking, a pack of 24 cards for gallery visitors to interpret their meanings as a form of fortune telling.

The Churchie Emerging Art Prize exhibition is free and open for public. It runs from 1 August to 20 September at Griffith University Art Gallery.

Donny Lau