Johnathon World Peace Bush – Finalist: Geelong Contemporary Art Prize 2024

Congratulations to Johnathon World Peace Bush who's Saint Peter (after El Greco) has been selected as a finalist in the 2024 Geelong Contemporary Art Prize.

The finalist exhibition will take place Saturday 10 August to Sunday 3 November 2024 at the Geelong Art Gallery.

Applying Western religious imagery and references to art history alongside a Tiwi visual language that predates the Renaissance, Johnathon World Peace Bush reflects on the underlying tension between the two belief systems with wry humour and subversive wit.

He playfully inserts himself into greater Western art narratives. By adapting the work of Velazquez and Francis Bacon, he questions entrenched concepts such as the ‘Old Masters’. His ‘Pope Innocent’ becomes ‘Pope Innocent after Francis Bacon after Velazquez’, but also ‘Pope Innocent after 65000 years of continuous living history in Australia’. In his own way Bush is a Renaissance Man in the truest sense of the word-charming, witty, rides horses, plays music, and writes poetry.

The 2024 Geelong Contemporary Art Prize continues a long tradition of acquisitive award exhibitions presented by the Gallery, through which the permanent collection has grown substantially. The first painting prize—the Geelong Centenary Art Competition—was held in 1938, and in the more than 80 years since, the Gallery has awarded acquisitive prizes variously for paintings, watercolours and prints, generously sponsored by individuals, philanthropic and corporate supporters committed to contemporary art.
Paintings acquired from previous prizes are among the most significant works in the Gallery’s collection, including works by Peter Booth (1972), Lesley Dumbrell (1979), Richard Larter (1980), John Nixon (1996), Janenne Eaton (1998), Ann Thomson (2002), Kate Beynon (2016) and Andrew Browne (2018).