When Matt Jones found himself homeless in Sydney, camping on friends’ couches and sleeping on trains, he never dreamt that he would one day win a national art prize for veterans.
But that’s exactly what happened.
A former army major from who served in East Timor, Matt is the winner of the 2020 Napier Waller Art Prize for his work Yarn.
For conceptual artist Matt Jones, yarning is all about connection and telling stories that need to be told.
“I’m absolutely stoked,” he said. “When I was told, I felt a bit numb actually. It’s still sinking in exactly what it means … but it’s been great.
“It’s a vindication of the difficulties that I’ve been through; that it was worthwhile telling the story, even if I’m the only person who knows what that story is.”
Matt’s work Yarn was selected from a short list of 17 Highly Commended entries. He will receive a $10,000 cash prize, and his art work will be displayed at the Australian War Memorial and accessioned into the National Collection. He will also receive a two-week research residency in the Art Section of the Memorial, and a mentoring day with eX de Medici, former official war artist to the Solomon Islands.
The inspiration behind Matt’s work, made from yarn and recycled fabric, comes from the blue and yellow maritime signal flag, Kilo, meaning, “I want to communicate with you.”