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Lauren O'Connor was awarded first prize in the Visual Arts in the Valley, Tony White Memorial Art Prize. An art prize for young emerging artists, that was open nationally in memory of the acclaimed jewellery designer, Tony White as part of the October Long weekend visual arts festival.

“I am thrilled to be the winner of the Tony White Memorial Prize, what an honour. I heard it was quite competitive this year and the sheer number of entries has me very excited for the future of this small regional prize. My hometown of Kangaroo Valley has had a difficult few years with fires, floods, COVID-19 isolation and road closures. I think an arts and culture festival is the perfect antidote!”

She has been a finalist in the Mosman Art Prize 2022, The Paddington Art Prize 2021 and is now the winner of the Visual Arts in the Valley – Tony White Memorial Art Prize.

Her recent solo show "Eating Wild Honey," at Arthouse Gallery in Rushcutter's Bay explored themes of cultivation, expansion, movement and change within the natural landscape.

O'Connor grew up in Kangaroo Valley and remains close to the community there. She chose to submit the work "Yarrunga" into Visual Arts in the Valley - because it referenced an area of the Shoalhaven River and Tallowa Dam catchment that was harshly affected by the Currowan Bushfire in 2020.

Over the past three years she visited the site regularly and observed/drew/painted the changes she saw there. She is currently in South Australia completing a placement at the Ernabella Arts Centre in Pukatja APY Lands working with Anangu Indigenous Artists.

Lauren O'Connor (b. Bowral 1994) is represented by Arthouse Gallery, Rushcutter's Bay and is a recent graduate from National Art School, Darlinghurst.

Her practice includes painting and ceramics, and she is concerned with abstraction, layering and the natural environment. Forms in nature are broken apart and reformed in her paintings giving new interpretations of landscapes. Based on memory and imagination, her landscapes lead to new worlds being created; they are familiar yet foreign, complicated yet simple. Her work constantly contradicts what the viewer's eye is used to seeing and understanding about painting and landscape itself, mirroring the Australian landscape, with its contradictions of familiar and strange.

The festival continues until Monday 3rd October at several venues across Kangaroo Valley. For more details visit


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