A meditation more than a picture is how Carl Milton describes his prize-winning painting ‘Sydney’. The Waterloo resident’s first ever entry into an art competition has received top honours in the City of Sydney’s 2008 Multicultural Art Competition.
Mr Milton said he nearly passed out when he received news of the win. “I found it such a shock and a really good surprise. Once I’d got over that, I realised I could buy more paints,” he said.
The $2,000 first prize awarded together with the all-important recognition and praise he has received, has gone a long way in encouraging Mr Milton to pursue his art.
Having always loved to paint and draw, he said his creative urges usually come in waves and bursts. “I’m beginning to realise how consistent and important art is to me and now I’m fully absorbed,” he said.
Drawn to the art competition’s theme of celebrating cultural diversity, Mr Milton said: “I support and embrace multiculturalism as I am a product of it. I have a mixed heritage and my father’s journey in Australia, like mamy others, began at Bonegilla migrant hostel [in Victoria].”
Born in Sydney and growing up in Melbourne, Mr Milton said he has been enriched by living in multicultural environments such as the cultural melting-pot of Auburn in Sydney.
“I’ve always had different cultures around me and each of us has our foibles. Once you are exposed to many cultures, you realise people are people, no matter where you are,” he said.
“We come together in a circle and the whole becomes much more than just the sum of its parts.”
The painting ‘Sydney’ uses simplistic representations of various souls engaged in a spirit of celebration and unity. The city’s instantly recognisable skyline provides a backdrop for a gathering that acknowledges our original inhabitants, and interprets Sydney as symbolic of the Sea of Hands Reconciliation Movement.
One of the competition’s judges, Sylvia Ross, Head of the School of Art at the College of Fine Arts UNSW, described the finalists as “animated, energetic and graphically exciting.”
The Multicultural Art Competition is part of the City of Sydney’s Living in Harmony program that promotes cultural diversity and understanding.
With the announcement of a new competition by the Council, the City of Villages Art Exhibition and Prize where $3000 is up for grabs, a suggestion that Mr Milton enter proves to be wholly unecessary.
“I’ve already got an idea floating around in my head. It won’t be anything like ‘Sydney’. I’m thinking about sub-cultures, but can’t say more than that,” he said.
The ten finalists from the 2008 Multicultural Art Competition are on exhibition at Town Hall House until June 11. They will then be exhibited at Pine Street Creative Arts Centre in Chippendale until July 5.
Winning entries will be incorporated into multilingual signage to be displayed in public locations to welcome visitors and residents from diverse cultural backgrounds, a council spokesperson said.
* This article was first published in the South Sydney Herald, June 2008.