600 people turned out in the south coast New South Wales community of Moruya last Friday evening with Mr Basil Sellers AM announcing the bi-annual $20,000 Basil Sellers Art Prize and officially opening the new arts and cultural centre, named the ‘Bas’.
The Arts and Cultural Centre – ‘The Bas’ - is a building attached to the Moruya Library which is part of the Eurobodalla Shire Council’s precincts. This facility has been a long time in coming and that so many turned out for its opening clearly illustrated this.
Video introducing The Bas: https://www.facebook.com/EurobodallaCouncil/videos/499298980599532/
Mr Basil Sellers AM
Mr Basil Sellers AM in his speech recognised the winning artist Anh Nguyen from Wollongong for the artist’s work celebrating children’s breakfast (see photo at the top of this article – courtesy Eurobodalla Shire Council) and the judges usual difficult task in selecting a winner.
Mr Sellers also took time to note the dedicated work the local community put in to see such an arts and cultural centre established. He made the point, from his own experiences, whether it be in France, England, the US - these community projects come to fruition through such ‘committed community minded’ people.
He also spoke of the history of his involvement in Moruya. Mr Sellers explained he sat next to Rev Mark Tronson the Australian cricket team chaplain in Sydney at the 1988 Bicentennial cricket dinner.
As a result, Mark Tronson interested him in funding ‘Basil Sellers House’ a retreat facility in Moruya for Australian Institute of Sport elite athlete which was opened in 1992 by the Wallaby captain Nick Farr-Jones. Mr Sellers explained elite athletes at this level have very special needs of which respite is a critical one.
As an artist himself, Mark Tronson then sought his funding for a small art gallery in Moruya which Basil Sellers himself opened in 2003 and announced a Moruya $10,000 Basil Sellers Art Prize for 2004. Such was its success the Eurobodalla Shire Council took on this bi-annual prize which over the years increased to $15,000 and now $20,000.
That 2003 original small art gallery is now utilised for ‘artists in residence’. Meanwhile Basil Sellers “arts interests” included the $100,000 Melbourne Art-Sport Prize; full size ‘Sport Identity’ Sculptures at major sport arenas around Australia, a small rural art prize at Midge Point (Whitsundays) and supporting a “literary – young writers” program (these last two coordinated by Rev Mark Tronson). Back in December 2005 the Tronson’s relocated to Tweed Heads with Mr Basil Sellers retaining these continuing Moruya projects.
There were 28 short listed finalists for the 2019 Basil Sellers Art Prize with the winner Anh Nguyen from Wollongong taking home the $20,000 cheque for her work “Jamboree Morning”.
The Basil Sellers Art Prize winners over the years, since that very first one way back in 2004, have all been worthy, awarded by the various judges over these past many years. As a philanthropist and celebrated international art collector, Mr Basil Sellers AM home is a delightful waltz of astonishing art.
For a full briefing on the 2019 Basil Sellers Art Prize see the Illawarra Mercury report.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html