The first Eloquence Art Prize – Matisse’s Influence on Australian Artists

Written by Karine Mauris

08 Mar 2022

2 min read

Share on:

On Wednesday 23rd of February, Culture Plus, in partnership with the Embassy of France in Australia, the Alliance Française de Sydney and the Art Gallery of NSW, organized the first eloquence contest at the Art Gallery of NSW as a way to reinforce cultural exchanges between France and Australia.

The theme Matisse’s Influence on Australian Art was inspired by the current Matisse exhibition Life & Spirit, Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou, Paris at the Gallery of NSW in Sydney. Four art students, pre-selected from Australia’s most prestigious universities, competed by giving a fifteen-minute illustrated presentation : Sadhbha Cockburn from the National Art School, Amelia Pontifex from Monash University, Shanti Shea-An from the Australian National University and Jennifer Yang from the University of Sydney.

Canberra 15-16 March, National Portrait Gallery - Seminar on Bilingual Education, organized by the French Embassy with guest speakers including Pr. Jim Watterston, Dean of Melbourne Graduate Education, University of Melbourne, Isabel Arellano, Delegate European and in International Relation for Cooperation, New Caledonia, Dr Yves Lafoy, Counsellor, Official Representative of New Caledonia to Australia, Embassy of France.
16th of March, 6pm-8pm, ANU - "Do you speak regional French?" Discover the rich variations of the language with an international panel of francophone speakers.
Guest speakers include Her Excellency Mrs Caroline Bichet-Anthamatten, Ambassador of Switzerland, Her Excellency Mrs Marie Claire Jeanne Monty, High Commissioner for Mauritius, Ms Isabelle Martin, Deputy Head of Mission, High Commission of Canada, Mr Arnaud Dusaucy, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Canberra, Dr Yves Lafoy, Counsellor, Official Representative of New Caledonia to Australia, Embassy of France.
Tickets here
16th of March, Telopea School - The telling of Oceanian tales. Oceanian tales for year 2 students with the participation of Laurence Begery, in Noumea
18th of March, 4-6pm, Alliance Française Canberra - AF Francophonie market. Eleven embassies stalls will share their regional food and drinks;
18th of March, Red Hill Primary School - « Dis-moi dix mots » competition. An event organized by the New Caledonia Delegation in Australia;
21th of March, Alliance Française Brisbane - The telling of Oceanian tales. Oceanian tales by Laurence Begery, in Noumea.
Sydney25th March, 6pm, Chauvel Cinema - Special screening of the francophone Canadian-Lebanese movie Memory Box, Alliance Francaise French Film Festival
Melbourne23d of March, 6pm, Palace Westgarth - Special screening of Mali Twist à Bamako, Alliance Francaise French Film Festival

As grand champion, Shanti Shea-An won $1000 cash and a trip to Paris donated by the French Embassy to meet the curators of the Centre Pompidou, art history classes donated by the Ecole du Louvre in Paris and mentoring sessions with the jury. The remaining three university champions received $500 cash from the French Embassy, French lessons from the Alliance Française and mentoring sessions with the judging panel.

The jury was presided by Maud Page, Deputy Director and Director of Collections of the Art Gallery of NSW, who was “thrilled to see so many young people” and declared the Prize a fabulous initiative”. The judging panel was also composed of Karine Mauris, Cultural Attaché of the French Embassy, Barbara Moore, CEO of the Biennale of Sydney, Jackie Dunn, Special Exhibitions Curator of the Art Gallery of NSW, Dr Mark De-Vitis, Matisse expert from the University of Sydney and Marie Chrétien, CEO and Founder of Culture Plus.

Boris Toucas, Head of Culture, Education and Science at the Embassy of France in Australia, celebrated the connections and cooperation between two countries whose cultures can intertwine and reciprocally influence each other into forming a greater and richer output.”

Marie Chrétien confirmed that she intends to continue this event on an annual basis. Next year’s edition could take place in Canberra or Melbourne.

Watch videos of each talk or the entire retransmission of the Grand Final on

Karine Mauris

My role is to support and encourage artistic and cultural collaborations between France and Australia in many fields such as music, literature, cinema, performing arts, visual arts or multimedia. I am the Artistic Director of the Alliance Française French Film Festival, in charge to select movies. In the past, I have also been a music and animation producer-publisher, gaming and internet business angel, and communications manager in the copyright and innovation sector.

Newsletter : Stay up to date on the latest in Sacreblue! news and events.

Sign up to hear about our latest articles and events.