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South Coast Artist Wins Meroogal Women’s Art Prize

Media Release: September 21, 2014 in Arts |

Sydney Living Museums is proud to announce Sharnie Shield, a local artist from Austinmer (NSW), has won the 2014 Meroogal Women’s Art Prize with her work Collars in the afternoon.

Sharnie Sheild 'Collars in the afternoon'

‘Collars in the afternoon’
click on image for hi-res download

The Meroogal Women’s Art Prize is a non-acquisitive art prize that invites female artists to respond to the house museum’s history, stories and collection of household objects and family treasures and create artworks that reflect Meroogal, a house that was handed down through four generations of women from one local family.

Sharnie Shield’s winning entry, Collars in the afternoon (left), is a collection of printed paper collars created using digital photographic collage and inspired by lace and embroidered collars hand-made by the women of Meroogal.

Shield wins a cash prize of $6000 and a prestigious artist-in-residency placement at Bundanon Trust.

Linda Denning 'Let your hair down'

‘Let your hair down’
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Another local artist, Linda Dening, from Tomboye (NSW) was awarded the second prize for her work, Let your hair down (left). Made from hair and wood, the artist was inspired by stories of domestic labour of the women of Meroogal. Denning wins a cash prize of $3000 for her work.

The third prize of $1000 was won by Sydney artist, Nicole Eisdell for The drawing room at Meroogal (below, left), an oil painting depicting the house’s drawing room half lit by dappled sunlight through the curtains.

Nicole Eisdell 'The drawing room of Meroogal'

‘The drawing room of Meroogal’
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Sydney Living Museums is delighted to present the 2014 Meroogal Women’s Art Prize and exhibition. We received 182 entries this year, a record number for the Art Prize, with thirty-nine inspiring works by thirty-four finalists selected for exhibition in the house, garden and grounds of Meroogal until 25 January 2015, said Mark Goggin, Director, Sydney Living Museums.

We warmly thank the artists who have entered their work for this year’s prize. I congratulate the finalists and the three winners for their work which so richly shed light on the many stories of Meroogal and of the women who lived in the house.

The judging panel for the 2014 Meroogal Women’s Art Prize included Deborah Ely, CEO of Bundanon Trust, Anna Corkhill, Project Curator and Dr Caroline Butler-Bowdon, Assistant Director, Creative Services, Sydney Living Museums.

The artists selected for the 2014 Meroogal Women’s Art Prize exhibition have brought historic Meroogal house, its history and stories, lovingly into the spotlight through the creation of their artworks. Sharnie’s winning work is an innovative and playful take on the beautiful lace collars in the Meroogal collection. The work reimagines the collars in crafted paper, printed with refracted, digitally manipulated images taken throughout Meroogal. The work is clever and interactive, and demonstrates a high level of conceptual thinking as well as crafting skill, said Project Curator, Anna Corkhill.

I am thrilled to receive the first prize for the 2014 Meroogal Women’s Art Prize. I would like to thank the judges and Sydney Living Museums for the opportunity to be exhibited in this year’s project. I am particularly excited to participate in the Bundanon Artist in Residency program during the coming year, said Sharnie Shield.

About Meroogal Women’s Art Prize 2014

  • The 2014 exhibition features 39 works by 34 artists from across the state.
  • Twenty (20) of the artists are based in the local South Coast and Southern Highlands region.
  • Ten (10) are based in the Sydney metropolitan area.
  • Four (4) of the finalists are based in regional NSW including the Hunter Valley and Blue Mountains area.
  • Artworks range from photography, installation, print, ceramics, painting and sound and provide a new lens through which to view Meroogal’s story and history.
  • The exhibition receives generous support from the Sydney Living Museums Foundation and Bundanon Trust.
  • Sydney Living Museums (custodian of Meroogal) established the Meroogal Women’s Art Prize in 1998.

For full list of finalists and artworks visit

Exhibition Launch
Exhibition open day and announcement of winners
Saturday 20 September at 2pm
Exhibition Opening Hours
Every Saturday, 10.30am – 3.30pm
Extended opening hours for Spring school holidays:
Tuesday 23 September – Saturday 27 September
Tuesday 30 September – Saturday 4 October
10.30am – 3.30pm


Corner West & Worrigee streets, Nowra NSW 2541

About Meroogal

Some houses are immediately friendly and inviting. Meroogal is such a house. Handed down through four generations of women from one local family, it tells a multitude of stories about the women that called it home and the south-coast community in which they lived. Barely changed since it was built in the 1880s, the distinctive ‘Carpenter Gothic’ house has been loved and maintained by four generations of Thorburn and MacGregor women through the pleasures and labours of daily life. The house still overflows with their belongings mdash; favourite books and ornaments, furniture, photographs, diaries and journals, newspaper clippings, receipts and recipes, appliances and clothes mdash; and the garden, although reduced from its original size, still provides fruits and fresh produce that hint at their self-sufficiency and hospitality. Meroogal invites us into their lives, and through their private histories draws us into a shared and living past.

More information

Media & Interviews

Emma Collison Publicity: 0418 584 795,

: Hayley Gallant, Sydney Living Museums 
T 02 8239 2318

Available for Interviews:

  1. Ms Anna Corkhill, Project Curator, Meroogal Women’s Art Prize, Sydney Living Museums
  2. Dr Caroline Butler-Bowdon, Assistant Director, Creative Services, Sydney Living Museums

About Anna Corkhill

Anna Corkhill has been fascinated by houses for as long as she can remember. At last count she has lived in 23 of them — a 25-hectare family farm, crumbling inner-city terrace, granny flat, 1950s fibro shack and everything in between mdash; including a house museum. Her interest in houses, and how their design affects the lives of the people who live in them, led her to complete a degree in architecture, followed by a Masters in Art Curatorship, at the University of Melbourne. In previous museum jobs she has worked on exhibitions at the State Library of Victoria and looked after heritage collections at the Victorian Parliamentary Library. As assistant curator at Rouse Hill House & Farm, Elizabeth Farm and Meroogal, Anna loves caring for these precious places, helping to ensure they will be around to spark the imaginations of future generations of house-lovers.