A Launceston artist has secured the major art prize in a national competition and has taken home $15,000 along with the title.
The WAMA Art Prize Works on Paper exhibition highlights 40 artworks from a range of finalists across the nation through the theme of art and nature.
However, local artist Melissa Smith took out the top prize with her work Listen Deeply - Lake Sorell.
"You never expect it. I was quite overwhelmed," she said.
"I felt very honoured, particularly because it's the inaugural prize. I have incredible respect for the other finalists that are in the exhibition ... I felt very humbled to be a selected winner."
The print work was created earlier this year and depicts a place Smith visits regularly and finds full of solitude and silence.
"There's a lot of history and stories associated with that site and landscape. I think that really there can be a sense of harmony from listening to that type of landscape," she said.
WAMA Foundation Art Advisory Council chairperson Jacky Healy said the winning artworks revealed the range of artists engaged with nature and the environment.
"The superb print-making skills of Melissa Smith conjures the sense of silence of the Tasmanian wilderness," she said.
The reason Smith entered the prize to begin with was because she connected with the philosophy that underpins the foundation.
"I thought my work did reflect on that engagement with art and nature, and some of the important things they are trying to do to protect and look after the landscape, species, and plants," she said.
Smith has been a practicing artist for 25 years and credits her passion for art to her art teacher at school.
"That really did nurture a love creating and I wanted to share that passion and encourage others," she said.
The artist currently has several roles working for Arts Tasmania and was previously head of visual and performing arts at Scotch Oakburn College.
Tasmanian artists are becoming more and more recognised for their talents on both a national and global platform.
"I think Tasmania has a wealth of talented artists and I think it's fantastic they are getting that recognition across all sorts of disciplines," she said.
"Because it's a national prize that acknowledgement does make it even more special."
Some of Smith's other work will be on display at the Devonport Regional Gallery from October 16 - November 27.
The WAMA exhibition can be voted on by the public for the People's Choice Award. The works can be viewed at wama.net.au.
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