Initiated in 2004, this prize is presented every second year. This year, artists were eligible not only from the Eurobodalla Shire, but also from the four most southern Shires of NSW which include Bega and the Snowy Mountains.
The $15,000 prize was presented by Mr Alan Cameron AC (on behalf of Mr Basil Sellers AM) at the South Coast town of Moruya at a sparkling ceremony on Friday 15th October.
Indigenous leader Auntie Lorrete Parsely welcomed everyone to Country, and Eurobodalla Mayor Fergus Thomson then welcomed guests and explained that this is the Shire's premier arts exhibition. Special guests included Reverend Dr Mark Tronson, the chairman of Well-Being Australia who now resides in Tweed Heads, and who originally established the Basil Sellers Art Prize.
Next, Eurobodalla Shire General Manager Paul Anderson introduced Mr Alan Cameron, successful lawyer, businessman and now company director in both private and public organisations.
Alan Cameron said that Basil Sellers had been a good friend for 30 years, and had served as his lawyer when he first came to Sydney from Adelaide. Basil Sellers' commercial success came with being able to 'turn around ailing companies' and with his (now) substantial wealth, he has contributed by putting funds back into society, particularly the arts and in sport.
He has donated, for example, the sporting sculptures around the Sydney Cricket Ground and the Basil Sellers Sport-Art Prize of $100,000 in Melbourne.
Alan Cameron explained, in jovial spirit, that he sought the wisdom of Sarah Murdoch and decided to have the winner's name written on a piece of paper in an envelope rather than relying on a voice through an ear piece. But he then jostled numerous envelopes he had in his pocket until he found the right one, much to the appreciated amusement of the patrons.
Unfortunately, Stan Squires is a retiring and reticent Indigenous gentleman, and he did not attend the ceremony. The community nonetheless appreciates his work and wishes him well in his future artistic endeavours.
The Basil Sellers Art Prize exhibition is open until the 28 October at the Mechanics Institute, Page Street, Moruya.
Ending on a positive note, Mayor Fergus Thomson noted there are plans a-foot to eventually establish an art precinct in this Page Street area, as Moruya is the arts hub of the Eurobodalla Shire and, now with the extension of the eligibility for entrants to this art prize, a regional hub.