Image above: Rodney Forbes A Submariner Dreams of Home 2020 oil on canvas
Congratulations to Rodney Forbes who has been announced as the winner of the Maritime Art Prize for his work, A submariner dreams of home.
This year, more than 200 entries were received and 107 were shortlisted from a highly competitive field – including a greater number of emerging artists than previous years – all of whom responded to the theme of ‘The Relationship of Humanity to the Sea.’
Chair of Judges, Dr. Graeme H. Williams OAM, said of Rodney’s work, ‘The winner, Rodney Forbes, first submitted for the Award in 2016 and his works have always demanded attention. It was felt that his work not only captured the essence of the theme ‘The Relationship of Humanity to the Sea’ but was particularly pertinent that it was based on the lot of a submariner considering the whole of Melbourne is in lockdown with a pandemic, similarly without contact with loved ones. Forbes is a master of irony and there are many layers embedded in this work, making it a worthy response to the theme.’
Melbourne Mission CEO, Sue Dight, said this year’s online exhibition provided a ‘global audience for the artists that have supported the Mission for so many years. Our role in supporting the seafarers is highlighted by providing the public with an understanding of the harsh and dangerous conditions that seafarers live in daily. Our immediate concern is for the 400,000 crew members globally who are stuck on board without shore leave and, for some, a way home. Isolation harms us all and seafarers are suffering more than ever.’
Rodney Forbes is fascinated by how people tell stories. His vibrant paintings address deeply poignant subject matter through dreamlike and surreal imagery. Figures and objects float against his trademark palette of bright, luminous colours, drawing the viewer in to explore a rich narrative. Drawing on both autobiographical and historical events, Forbes has the masterful ability to portray sometimes dark and challenging subject matter through vibrant, cartoon-like imagery, resulting in deeply engaging works that invite extended contemplation.