Luke Cornish Wins Gallipoli Art Prize

Artist Luke Cornish has won the 2024 Gallipoli Art Prize for his work ‘The Pity of War’, a $20,000 award, auspiced by the Gallipoli Memorial Club, Sydney. Cornish said the artwork is a ‘reinterpretation of Michelangelo’s iconic “La Pieta,” (English translation ‘The Pity’) reimagined to convey the profound sorrow experienced by mothers who have lost their children to the ravages of war.’

Cornish’s work depicts two figures, a woman and a hooded figure, sitting closely with their faces partly covered by gas masks. While the artist also known as E.L.K is celebrated for his street art and stencil work, ‘The Pity of War’ is an aerosol and acrylic painting on canvas.

You can view all the finalist work judged by Jane Watters, Barry Pearce, Elizabeth Fortescue and John Robertson here. Or, visit the show in person in Sydney until 24 May 2024.

Selected works responded to the broad themes of loyalty, respect, love of country, courage, comradeship, community, peace and freedom.

Cornish said ‘I endeavour to capture the enduring agony and anguish etched upon the faces of these grieving mothers, transcending time and place to resonate with audiences today. Inspired by the timeless themes of sacrifice and loss, “The Pity of War” confronts viewers with the devastating human toll of armed conflict, particularly on those left behind. The modernised interpretation emphasises the universality of maternal grief, evoking empathy and contemplation in equal measure. By invoking the spirit of Michelangelo’s masterpiece, I seek to pay homage to the enduring power of art to illuminate the human condition. “The Pity of War” serves as a poignant reminder of the futility of violence and the urgent need for peace, encouraging reflection on the true cost of war and the imperative of compassion and understanding in our world.’