• Link to online gallery below

Winners of the 2021 MSC Maritime Art Prize were announced on 14th October to an international audience via an online streaming event at the Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Docklands.

The Maritime Art Prize and Exhibition is a highly regarded competition that has been hosted at the heritage-listed building in Melbourne’s Docklands for nineteen years. Due to COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria, this year’s exhibition is being hosted online (see link below) until Sunday 14th November, and the winning entries will be on display when the Mission re-opens to the public in early November.

80 artworks were shortlisted from a highly competitive field – including a greater number of interstate artists than previous years – all of whom responded to the theme ‘The Relationship of Humanity to the Sea’

The judges’ remarked that “Humanity embraces the entire human race and displays unique human characteristics such as compassion, sympathy, kindness, and mercy. ‘The Relationship of Humanity to the Sea’ is a wonderful theme for an exhibition and as always artists took on the theme and gave their individual interpretations, providing a diverse and thought-provoking group of entries.”

This year’s judges are Dr Graeme H. Williams OAM, Jane Scott, and Paul Auckett.


‘Mediterranean Shipping Company’ Maritime Art Award 2021 – $10,000

Laurel FoenanderLest we Forget

Oil on Canvas, 2020

Laurel is a contemporary realist painter working in oils, with a passion for painting the natural world and highlighting the effects of our changing climate and its role on the depletion of species’.

Judges’ Comments: “Depicting a rescue boat loaded with friends, family, and animals escaping the bushfires. Laurel’s work provokes a range of emotions and interpretations. She has captured the beautiful and yet horrifying colours of the skies during the bushfires and the desperation of fleeing and not knowing when, or if, they could return. The boat is the life saver; the sea is a safe barrier; and the comradery of friends and family will always prevail. ‘Lest we Forget’ captures humanity at its best during one of our worst moments


‘Port Phillip Sea Pilots’ Best Traditional Maritime Art Award – $5,000

Debra MarshallSea Forrest

Pen on Paper, 2021

Debra is a Melbourne based artist who is currently investigating landscape, and the intersection between the natural world and the man-made landscape.

Judges’ Comments: “Sea Forrest’ embraced the connection between nature and the man-made built environs.  The natural, and inevitable, decay of the pier that is home for marine life was also once a pier for fishing and sea traffic. We found ourselves filling in the history and imagining it’s future. The work stands as a great example of change and growth”


‘Nevile & Co’ Runner-Up Award – $2,000

Don Braben – Once Were Lifesavers

Oil on Board, 2021

Don Braben is a Fellow, Vice President and Foundation Member of the Australian Society of Marine Artists. His marine paintings in oil and watercolour are in many private and public collections across the globe.

Judges’ Comments: “Don’s work conjured for us a strong sentiment of the fear, sorrow, waiting and loneliness that some people have been feeling during this pandemic. ‘Once Were Lifesavers’ speaks to our abandoned lives, abandoned seafarers, and how rescue is never too far away. Lifesavers are out there, at the ready to help us get our lives back on track”


‘Gulf Agency Company’ Emerging Artist Award – $1,000

Antoinette InguantiMen at Work

Acrylic on Canvas, 2021

As an amateur artist, Antoinette constantly explores different mediums and subjects, but always returns to the beauty of the sea that surrounds her and that is in her DNA.

Judges’ Comments: Compositionally dynamic, Antoinette has portrayed the dangers of the pilots as they go about their daily work, whilst providing a view that celebrates the enormity of these ships. Her work is dynamic and certainly an artist to watch”


The Maritime Art Prize and Exhibition is a major fundraising initiative of the Mission to Seafarers. The generosity of our sponsors who provide the prize money and other in-kind contributions, and the artists who pay an entrance fee and a commission on all works that are sold, ensures the continued success and wide popularity of this annual event.

Quote attributable to MtSV CEO Sue Dight:

“The Maritime Art Awards and Exhibition have presented us with some interesting challenges again this year, due to COVID-19. Taking the exhibition online provides us with a global audience for the artists that have supported the Mission for so many years. Our role in supporting the seafarers is highlighted by providing the public with an understanding of the harsh and dangerous conditions that seafarers experience every day. Our immediate concern is for the thousands of crew members globally who are still stuck on board without shore leave and, for some, abandoned a long way from home. Isolation harms us all and seafarers are suffering more than ever. Art inspires us to remember those who are working solidly to deliver our everyday items.”

‘VICT’ People’s Choice Award – $2000 will be announced on Monday 15th November

Laurel FoenanderLest we Forget

Debra MarshallSea Forrest

Don BrabenOnce we were Lifesavers


Antoinette Inguanti
Men at Work