Announcing Representation of Marikit Santiago – Sir John Sulman Prize Winner

24 Sep 2020

Congratulations to Marikit Santiago, who has just been announced as the winner of the prestigious 2020 Sir John Sulman Prize.

The Sulman Prize is awarded for the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project by an Australian artist. Established within the terms of Sir John Sulman’s bequest, the prize was first awarded in 1936. Santiago’s award-winning work, The divine portrays her three children, who often collaborate with her creative processes; the pen and paint markings in this piece were made by Maella, aged 5; Santiago, aged 3; and Sarita, aged 1. The piece explores the ideals and principles surrounding faith, creation stories, motherhood, cultural heritage and gender roles, themes that frequently inform Santiago’s work.

Yavuz Gallery is also delighted to announce the representation of Marikit Santiago. 

Working across painting and assemblage, Santiago draws on a rich array of sources – borrowing from Australian and Filipino contemporary culture, Western Art Canon, as well as biblical symbology. Her work employs traditional figurative oil techniques alongside unconventional mark-making of pyrography, combined with playful collaborations with her children’s drawings. 

Santiago interrogates and critiques the tensions that exist between her intersecting social, cultural and religious experiences. Through her practice, she considers the ways in which her Filipino heritage and Australian nationality intersect with her socially assigned roles as a woman and mother, and how these are framed within the context of being raised within the Catholic faith. Through the articulation of her own experiences, Santiago’s works reflect the simultaneous acceptance and rejection of her interweaving ethnic, cultural and social identities. They expand on a multigenerational tradition of story-telling, in hopes of passing down Filipino culture to her own children who are being raised within a contemporary Australian context.

Born in 1985, Santiago currently lives and works in Western Sydney. Her selected exhibitions include: Bayanihan Philippine Art Project, Art Gallery New South Wales, Blacktown Arts Centre, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Mosman Art Gallery and Peacock Gallery, Australia (2017); New Sacred, Mosman Art Gallery, Australia (2018) ; I LOVE YOU MELISSA, The Lock Up, Australia (2018); Mahal, Firstdraft (2018); Everyday Madonna, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (2019); and Sports Show, Pari, Parramatta Artist Run Initiative, Australia (2020). In 2021, she will present a solo exhibition, For Us Sinners at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Australia.

Santiago is the winner of the 2020 edition of the Sir John Sulman Prize, and has received the Sam Whiteley Commendation Award, Churchie Emerging Art Prize, Institute of Modern Art, Australia (2018); and was a finalist for the Archibald Prize (2016), and the Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia (2019). She is the guest judge of the 2020 edition of the Young Archie Award.

Her debut solo exhibition titled My Father’s Son will be presented at Yavuz Gallery Sydney from 8 to 31 October 2020.