Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
GCS Gallery Abbotsleigh

2021 Art Award Winners

We are excited to announce the winners of the Grace Cossington Smith biennial art award 2021.

Nadia Hernández - the recipient of the acquisitive $15,000 prize

Alice Wormald - early career artist award $2,500 non acquisitive

David Collins - local artist award $2,500 non acquisitive  

Hernandez_Nadia_Green Papaya Sweet.jpg

Grace Cossington Smith art award $15, 000 acquisitive  Nadia Hernández

Nadia Hernández is a multidisciplinary artist. She was born in Mérida, Venezuela and lives and works in Sydney and studied at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (fashion) in 2008. Hernández explores her personal and political connections to Venezuala, connecting with memories and narratives that she articulates through her colours, shapes and textures and the poetry of her titles. In 2019 Hernández was awarded the Churchie National Emerging Art Prize and undertook a residency with Bundanon Trust, NSW. Hernández is represented by STATION.

Judges Katrina Cashman and Oliver Watts commented

Dulce de lechoza verde (procedimiento)/Green papaya sweet (procedure), is a beautiful textile work that harks back to Hernández heritage considering ideas of diaspora and food connecting culture and family. It is full of life, tenderness and is a very loving work that represents the connections we all need now.

Dulce de lechoza verde (procedimiento)/Green papaya sweet (procedure), 2021

cotton, linen, and corduroy on linen textile, 145 x 100 cm


Grace Cossington Smith early career artist award $2,500 non acquisitive Alice Wormald

Alice Wormald graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. Wormald creates paintings that develop from a process of image collection and collage that she fragments and reinterprets. Her compositions are layered, combining a softness of brushmark and hard-edge linear patterns creating an illusion and play on visual perspective. Wormald is represented by Gallery 9, Sydney.

Judges Comment

Turning in Circles is a contemporary painting that revels in artifice, with her playing with and remaking of found images. It is a work full of contrasts – inside/outside, natural/artificial and a variety of interesting viewpoints.

Turning in Circles, 2020, oil on linen. 140 x 110 cm

Collins_David_Hot Burn.jpg

Grace Cossington Smith local artist award $2,500 non acquisitive David Collins

David Collins' life on Dangar Island in the Hawkesbury River allows him to live with nature and connect fully with both the water and the land. He has a studio amongst the trees, overlooking the water, and frequently paints and draws en plein air. His view of the landscape with his broad washes of oil paint and calligraphic line ensure a personal and unique style. Collins studied fine arts at Hornsby Technical College and the Canberra School of Art. He has been the recipient of artist residencies in Australia and overseas and exhibits regularly. He is represented by Defiance Gallery.

Judges Comment

Hot Burn is an evocative, well observed landscape capturing a strong connection to place. Collins poetically responds to the land through colour, and beautiful glazes provide a sense of depth, heat and refracted light. Also revealed are suggestions of the devasting fires we so recently experienced.

Hot Burn, 2021, oil on Canvas, 122 X 200 cm (diptych)

Watch the announcement of the 2021 Grace Cossington Smith art award


View the 2021 art award catalogue on ISSUU

GCS art award_room sheet - price list.pdf

2021 Judges

Katrina Cashman

Katrina Cashman is the Gallery Manager and Senior Curator at the National Art School Sydney. Formerly Cashman was the Assistant Director/Senior Curator at the Mosman Regional Art Gallery where she was responsible for the curatorial excellence of their Gallery program, public program delivery and audience engagement. She has curated 45 major exhibitions across the gallery and museum sector in Australia and in Indonesia and has extensive networks within the Australian and International art industry.


Oliver Watts

Dr Oliver Watts is the Senior Curator of Artbank Sydney. He holds an MFA in painting, and a PhD in art history and jurisprudence, from the University of Sydney. Watts was a lecturer at SCA, University of Sydney, between 2011-2017. As a contemporary artist he has been a finalist in many prizes including the Archibald Prize and the Helen Lempriere Travelling Scholarship. His work is held in the National Museum of Australia, Artbank and the Reserve Bank collections. Watts was a founding member of the Chaser as a cartoonist and illustrator and he is represented by Chalk Horse Gallery and This Is No Fantasy, Melbourne.


The Grace Cossington Smith biennial art award 2021 FINALISTS

Announcing GCS art award Finalists.pdf

ABB7942 Announcing GCS art award_web.jpg

2021 Exhibition views



GCS4.jpg GCS3.jpg










Images copyright Richard Glover Photography

Thank you for entering the 2021 Grace Cossington Smith art award. This year we received entries from over 400 artists.

We would like to let you know that we have postponed the exhibition of finalist works until February 2022. We have done this so that artists anywhere in the country have the greatest opportunity to get their work to the exhibition and hopefully can visit Sydney for the announcement of the winner and to see the show.

Revised dates:

  • Selected finalists listed on website       25 November 2021
  • Delivery                                                 7, 8, 9 December 2021  or                                                                                  18, 19   January 2022
  • Exhibition                                              5 to 26 February 2022
  • Opening and award presentation          4  February 2022
  • Collection                                              1 to 4 March 2022

Submissions are NOW CLOSED.

The award theme is inspired by the work of Abbotsleigh Old Girl and artist Grace Cossington Smith who made connections with her changing world through her drawing and painting.

There will be an exhibition of up to 40 finalists with three awards and a winner's exhibition in the following year. 

The awards

  • $15,000 awarded to the winner (acquisitive).
  • $2,500 awarded to an early-career artist.
  • $2,500 awarded to a local artist from Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai area. 
  • The winners share a three-week group exhibition at the GCS Gallery in 2022

Key dates:

  • Online entry opens                                1 March 2021
  • Entries close                                      29 August 2021 midnight
  • Selected finalists listed on website      25 September 2021
  • Delivery                                                26 to 30 October 2021
  • Exhibition                                              6 November to 4 December 2021
  • Opening and award presentation         6 November 2021
  • Collection                                              7 to 11 December 2021

Announcements and exhibition dates may require adjustment in line with future Covid-19 restrictions. The GCS art award will not be an on-line exhibition only.

Please read the Conditions of Entry before filling in the form.

GCS art award_conditions of entry.pdf

We look forward to your entry.

PLEASE NOTE: The 2021 Entry form supports all MODERN browsers (e.g. recent releases of Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari). Legacy browsers like Internet Explorer are NOT supported.

If you are unable to access the online entry form (preferred) please complete the pdf form and email to                                             Payment details are at the end of the form.

GCS art award_application.pdf

Opening hours:
Tues-Sat 10-5
during exhibitions
Visit us:
Gate 7, 1666 Pacific Highway
Wahroonga NSW 2076
Contact us:
© Abbotsleigh
Show mobile site