Wagga artist Liam Garstang takes out Macquarie Group's Emerging Artist Prize

CROWD FAVOURITE: Wagga boy Liam Garstang took out the Macquarie Group's Emerging Artist Prize in Sydney for his piece titled 'The twin hanging trees'. Picture: Supplied

CROWD FAVOURITE: Wagga boy Liam Garstang took out the Macquarie Group's Emerging Artist Prize in Sydney for his piece titled 'The twin hanging trees'. Picture: Supplied

Home-grown talent has shone bright on the big stage with Wagga artist Liam Garstang taking out the Macquarie Group’s Emerging Artist Prize.

His winning piece, titled The twin hanging trees depicts two ghost gums floating in a contextually ambiguous monochromatic landscape.

Mr Garstang drew on his family’s farming heritage for the piece and said it explored the harrowing concept of mental health issues plaguing farmers across the country.

“At the time of making this work, I was thinking about my own personal experience of loss and inter-generational suicide,” he said.

Guest judge Nici Cumpston, Emerging Curator Award winner Freja Carmichael, Emerging Artist Prize winner Liam Garstang, Nick Waterlow award winner Alice Couttoupes and Highly Commended award winner Mechelle Bounpraseuth. Picture: Supplied

Guest judge Nici Cumpston, Emerging Curator Award winner Freja Carmichael, Emerging Artist Prize winner Liam Garstang, Nick Waterlow award winner Alice Couttoupes and Highly Commended award winner Mechelle Bounpraseuth. Picture: Supplied

“I was also thinking about the rise in suicide deaths by Australian males, particularly in regional areas and Aboriginal communities.

“With this in mind, the work questions and revises heroic representations of inland Australia.”

The stark-white trees with a benevolent, almost identical patrilineal scale in their design took out the award for its precise reflection of the year’s theme: The Land and its Psyche.