Explanatory Notes for the Executive Director’s Award within the Clancy Art Exhibition

The Executive Director’s Award was inaugurated in 2011 initially as an acquisitive award for the Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS). Since 2013 SCS Sydney has exhibited the winning piece for twelve months at St Martha’s, after which time the piece is returned to the artist. The Executive Directors award is awarded to works that explicitly represent an aspect of Catholic culture, tradition, prayer or belief. The title of the work, the subject matter and accompanying commentary should display clear links to the guidelines for this award.

The Executive Director’s Award is a refinement of the broader “religious art” category of the Clancy Prize with a clear and direct focus on Sacred Art. As John Paul II said in 1987 in Duodecimum Saeculum, “Sacred art must tend to offer us a visual synthesis of all dimensions of our faith. Church art must aim at speaking the language of the Incarnation and, with the elements of matter, express the One who ‘deigned to dwell in matter and bring about our salvation through matter’ according to Saint John Damascene’s beautiful expression” [IV:11]

Sacrosanctum Concilium says of sacred artworks that “…by their very nature, they are oriented toward the infinite beauty of God which they attempt in some way to portray by the work of human hands; they achieve their purpose of redounding to God’s praise and glory in proportion as they are directed the more exclusively to the single aim of turning the human mind devoutly toward God. (VII:122)

These words give a very clear and focused context in which the Executive Director’s Award provides an opportunity for schools and individual students to study and make sacred art. The guidelines seek to represent John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter and the direction of Sacrosanctum Concilium. As a result, works that will be eligible for the Executive Director’s award are those which:

  • Are appropriate for liturgical use
  • Represent the Incarnation
  • Reflect sanctity or the life of a saint
  • Relate to the sacramental life of the Church or God’s grace
    are Icons
  • Represent an aspect of scripture
  • Reflect Catholic tradition and prayer
  • Invite prayer, meditation or contemplation.

    Consideration in the judging of the award will be on the basis of:

  • Technical skill reflected
  • Depth of thinking and effectiveness
  • The ability to effectively meet one of the criteria.

While this award would be open to all Year groups, the most likely target audience would be Year 10, 11 and 12 students. HSC major works often hold a particular importance to student’s who may not be willing to part with their work for the twelve months during which the work will be exhibited. Also, the fact that these works are part of an examinable course may mean that some students may not be willing to focus on the specialist area of sacred art. However, all pieces submitted for the Clancy Prize that meet the criteria established for the Executive Director’s Award are eligible for this award and are also eligible to win the Clancy Prize.