Stuart Scambler Winner 2023

Local artist Stewart Scambler was announced as the winner of the prestigious John Stringer Prize 2023.

Scambler said the work was four years in the making and described the acknowledgement as “overwhelming”.“I never expected to win, I was excited just to be able to make a work like that because there are very few places where you can do such a big piece,” he said.

“All of the other artists’ work is so strong, so I feel very privileged to be awarded this.

“For me, it means there are people who find my work valid and have an emotional response to it, that it’s not just about me — and I find that important, because I think art needs to have an emotional impact.”

Born in Scotland and arriving in Australia in the 1950s, Scambler spent his early career working in an oil industry laboratory, before studying ceramics and then making it his full-time career in the 1980s.

Environmental concerns drive much of Scambler’s work, with Yindjibarndi Country a reflection of his time spent in the land surrounding Yandanyirra (the Fortescue River).

The work uses Western Australian materials such as brick clay and materials gathered during his journey in the area such as iron ore fines, dust from Scambler’s vehicle and ochres given by a Yindjibarndi elder.

“I am interested in the land and its importance both as home and driver of cultural identity,” Scambler said. “Despite extensive testing, the use of local unrefined materials still produces unexpected results.

“I work with that uncertainty to explore how the changes in land use and population manifest themselves; I wonder if the land weeps for its people.”

Previous Winners

Brendan Van Hek

Retrospective 2024, Winner

Stuart Scambler

Finalists 2023, Retrospective 2024, Winner

Jacky Cheng

Finalists 2022, Retrospective 2024, Winner

Merrick Belyea

Finalists 2021, Retrospective 2024, Winner

Alistair Rowe

Finalists 2015, Retrospective 2024, Winner

Jacobus Capone

Finalists 2016, Retrospective 2024, Winner

Erin Coates

Finalists 2017, Retrospective 2024, Winner

Jarrad Martyn

Finalists 2018, Retrospective 2024, Winner

Bjoern Rainer Adamson

Finalists 2019, Retrospective 2024, Winner

Susan Roux

Finalists 2020, Retrospective 2024, Winner