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23rd June 2022 Latest News

A Servicewoman’s Journey Through Motherhood Wins Art Prize

Napier Waller 2022 winner   cropped

Congratulations to Retired Major Anneke Jamieson who has won the 2022 Napier Waller Art Prize for her portrait titled The promotion.

The winning artwork depicts a service woman in uniform breastfeeding her child and will now join the War Memorial’s national collection.

Military and Emergency Services Health Australia is proud to sponsor the Napier Waller Art Prize, together with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Thales Australia, and supported by the University of Canberra.

The Napier Waller Art Prize aims to help promote the healing potential of art and raises a broader awareness of the military experience and the impact of service on the individual. It is open to all current and former service personnel in the Australian Defence Force.

Read Major Jamieson’s (Ret’d) artist statement below:

“The mother in me could never make peace with the officer I wanted to be.

While pregnant with our first child I planned my return from maternity leave blind to the person I would become when promoted to mother. I’ve always admired the leaders I’ve served with – they give so much of themselves for their people. When our second and third children arrived, it was evident I couldn’t be both the officer I wanted to be and the mother I needed to be. I had incredible support from my husband and army but it didn’t change my capacity to give of myself. Nor did watching friends manage the conflict with grace and determination. My choice was difficult but obvious and, in the end, empowering.

But she is not me. She is the woman whose career came first. She has dedicated herself to her soldiers and her service and achieved so much. Yet now, as a new mother, she has returned from maternity leave changed in ways she never imagined; this promotion might be her greatest challenge yet.

I dedicate her to the mothers that serve; to their sacrifices and conflicted hearts and to the families who support them.”

CCH’s Fi Borthwick was one of the judges for the Napier Waller Art Prize

Fi Borthwick, Senior Curator for Centre for Creative Health (also part of The Hospital Research Foundation Group), said she felt honoured to be part of this years judging panel.

“I would like to firstly congratulate all the artists who submitted an artwork. Each and every one of the submitted pieces exemplified artistic excellence and was thoroughly deserving of inclusion,” Fi said.

“It is no small thing for the service personnel to create something close to their hearts and then send it out into the world. It’s been an honour to be included in the judging panel this year and thank you to everyone who shared their artwork and stories with us, especially Major Jamieson (Ret’d).”

Head of Art at the Australian War Memorial, Laura Webster, said the short-listed pieces were of a high quality and represented a variety of artistic mediums.

“This year’s short-listed works are of an extremely high standard,” she said.

“They are also quite diverse and show a broad range of artistic talent with a variety of mediums represented.

“The winning work is very significant because it tells the story of women and mothers in the Australian Defence Force.”

Themes explored by the shortlisted works include mental health and trauma, the impact of moving on children and families of service personnel, and current events surrounding the Australian military.

The full exhibition can be viewed online, as well as the 28 shortlisted submissions that are eligible for the People’s Choice Award.

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