Napier Waller Art Prize

The Napier Waller Art Prize is open to all current and former service personnel in the Australian Defence Force. The prize encourages artistic excellence, promotes the transformative power of creativity, and raises awareness of the experiences and talent of service personnel.

Serving personnel and veterans are invited to enter an original artwork and artist statement. Entries will be judged by a panel of art experts and professionals, and a winning artwork selected on merit. Entries using diverse artistic media and original concepts are encouraged.

Finalists’ works are displayed on the Australian War Memorial’s website for the general public to vote for the People’s Choice award, the winner of which will receive $5,000. An exhibition of highly commended works is held at the Australian War Memorial. The winning work is accessioned into the Australian War Memorial collection, with the winning artist receiving a $10,000 cash prize and a two-week, all expenses paid residency with the Art Section at the Australian War Memorial.

Natalie Duncan

2019 Napier Waller Art Prize

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2019 Winner: Natalie Duncan

Green on Blue

2018 Napier Waller Art Prize

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2018 Winner: Rob Douma

Initiated in 2018, the Napier Waller Art Prize was named after Mervyn Napier Waller, an Australian artist who enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in August 1915. In May 1917 he was wounded in the right arm while serving with the 11th Field Artillery Brigade during the fighting at Bullecourt. His arm was later amputated, and during his convalescence he learned to write and draw with his left hand, saying, “an artist draws with his head, not his hands”. In 1937 Waller was chosen to create the mosaics and stained glass windows in the Australian War Memorial’s Hall of Memory.

“You would never hear these stories if it wasn’t for this award and the War Memorial asking for them, there is a whole chunk of military experience that no one would ever know about or see”

Natalie Duncan, Winner, 2019 Napier Waller Art Prize

“The personal reward has been connecting with the other finalists. I was genuinely surprised and humbled by the open, mutual support regardless of different military backgrounds and experiences.”

Rob Douma, Winner, 2018 Napier Waller Art Prize

Information about the 2020 Napier Wall Art Prize can be found here.

For any enquiries about the Napier Waller Art Prize please email:

A bibliography of international research in the field of creative arts and health can be found here.

The Napier Waller Art Prize is presented in partnership by The Road Home, the University of Canberra, Thales Australia, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.