Australia’s richest regional drawing prize, The Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award (JADA), will be on display at Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery from Saturday, June 5 to Sunday, July 25, 2021.

JADA exhibits range from photo realism and digital drawings to abstract works, making the exhibition an ideal way to see how artists are using drawing to speak about contemporary mark-making. JADA is organised and toured by the Grafton Regional Gallery.

Peter McKay, Curatorial Manager of Australian Art at Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art was invited to judge the finalists and select the winner and recommend works to acquire for the Grafton Regional Gallery collection of contemporary drawing.

The winner of the 2020 Award was selected from more than 650 entries received in 2020. Teo Treloar's work titled, This is Impermanence, was awarded the $35,000 prize.

In an essay written for the 2020 exhibition catalogue, arts writer and critic, Dr Andrew Frost observed: “The 2020 selection, and winner chosen by curator Peter McKay, is an example of both the breadth and quality of work produced by Australian artists.”

Teo’s work is a graphite pencil drawing that reflects on multiple ideas, including his own experience with depression and anxiety, contemporary concepts of masculinity, the master engravings of Albrecht Durer, and the existential literature of Franz Kafka. The drawings featured in the work are intended to present a speculative visual platform for viewers to engage with; allowing them to deconstruct the image and find meaning on their own terms. Teo's drawing is a manifestation of these experiences and ideas.

Peter McKay also recommended two works to be acquired for the Gallery collection of contemporary drawing, which are:

  • Sarah Tomasetti's work titled, Kailash North Face IV, 2019. The work pays homage to the pilgrimage route at the base of the most sacred of peaks on the Tibetan Plateau.
  • Noel McKenna's work titled, Hamlet, 2020. This work is about a French bulldog from Noel's neighbourhood.

sarahtomasettiwebAll three works feature in the exhibition on show at Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery.

Grafton Regional Gallery Director Niomi Sands said the JADA celebrated drawing in all its forms, from the expressive and the abstract, to hyper-realism that is beyond belief.

“The winning work evokes a poetic and emotional response to our environment and the human condition. It is an outstanding artwork and a valuable addition to the Gallery collection,” she said.

“Many of the finalists selected, question and challenge the notion of the traditional drawing, while others provide a contemporary perspective that reinvigorate those traditions.

“We are thrilled that the tradition of excellence continues with the 56 artists selected for the exhibition which celebrates Australian contemporary drawing at its finest.”

Toowoomba Regional Council Library and Cultural Services portfolio leader Cr Tim McMahon said Toowoomba was fortunate to have the 2020 Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award at long last, as it was originally scheduled to be on display at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery in 2020.

“However, the Gallery’s COVID-enforced closure meant the exhibition was postponed,” Cr McMahon said.

“Toowoomba is one of only a couple of venues to show this prestigious national selection and we are proud to be a host. I encourage residents to view the exhibition.”

The 2020 Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award (JADA) offered total prize money of $45,000.

For more information visit or follow Toowoomba Region art galleries on Instagram @trartgalleries 

Image, top: Teo TRELOAR, This is Impermanence, 2019 / graphite pencil on paper / Courtesy of the Artist and Andrew Baker Art Dealer

Image, centre: Sarah TOMASETTI / Kailash North Face IV, 2019 / oil, graphite and incision on fresco plaster / Courtesy of the Artist and Australian Galleries Melbourne and Sydney

Image, below: Noel McKENNA / Hamlet, 2019 / ink on paper / Courtesy of the Artist and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney