SALA Awards & Opportunities

Each year, we recognise South Australian artists, curators, and the venues that support them, in the SALA Awards. 
Most awards are open exclusively to registered SALA Festival participants, but check out each award listing for details and eligibility criteria.

To see recent award announcements, head to Finalists & Winners, or check out our archive of winners from past years

2023 Awards

The 2023 Awards will be revealed here in the New Year! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Most awards open Wednesday, 1 March 2023 and  close Wednesday, 17 May 2023. Check each award listing for the specific dates.

Once you have registered an exhibition or event in SALA 2023, head to the SALA Online Portal to submit an award nomination form.

Artists, curators and venues that are participating in a registered SALA exhibition/event are encouraged to self-nominate for the SALA Awards. Each award has different criteria and some result in an opportunity so it’s important to read up on each award before nominating.

 Nominations will be accepted from someone representing the nominee (a curator, support worker, or friend) who can fill out the form on their behalf. It is imperative that you check with the person before nominating them for an award that carries a resulting opportunity (eg, an exhibition the following year) to ensure that they consent to being nominated and are capable of following through with any associated opportunities.

For most of the SALA Awards, the first round of judging is based on the nomination form and yields a selection of finalists. All applicants will be advised of the outcome of their application via the email address provided in the form.

The next round of judging is based on real-life visits to finalists’ exhibitions where possible. Judges will visit the exhibition that corresponds to the registration ID number provided in the nomination form, so it is important that nominees in multiple exhibitions pay careful attention to which registration ID they provide.

Most award winners are announced at the conclusion of the Festival.

The registration ID number that you provide in the award nomination form will determine which exhibition the judges will visit if you are a finalist. Please provide the registration ID number that corresponds with the exhibition containing the artwork referred to in your award nomination form.

Unless specified otherwise, the images that you upload into the award nomination form should be of one artwork. One image should be of the whole artwork, and any other images can show close-up details, texture, or alternative angles of the work.

Yes, if you nominate an artwork for an award, it needs to be displayed in your SALA exhibition in the same year. 

The artwork that you submit in the award nomination form should be made since the last SALA Festival (August 2022). If your exhibition contains a mix of old and new work, only the new work can be submitted in the awards.

We reccommend that you start a draft of your Award nomination form, and wait until closer to the deadline to actually submit it. This may allow you more time to develop the work and get an image of it for the form. 

Previous finalists have been selected based on material that was indicative of an artwork that wasn’t finished at the time of submission (but was completed for the exhibition in August).

Most of the SALA Awards aim to recognise excellence in an individual artwork.
If an artwork is created by two or more artists working in collaboration, that artwork is eligible for the SALA Awards. However, a group of artists creating individual works for a group exhibition will need to nominate their works individually for the SALA Awards.


Curators of group exhibitions are encouraged to nominate for the City of Onkaparinga Contemporary Curator Award (as are curators of solo exhibitions).

Judging visits are not disclosed to nominees, so it is imperative that any changes to exhibition opening times are communicated with the SALA team via phone or email as soon as you become aware of them. Judging cannot be guaranteed when details of the registration change.

Tips for Applicants

An artist biography can be described as a resume in paragraph form. It details things like relevant study and your top achievements. These are usually written in third-person (eg. “The artist was born in Adelaide”) but will be accepted in first-person (eg. “I was born in Adelaide”) unless stipulated otherwise.

Things you can include:

  • relevant study, degrees, qualifications, or noting if the artist is self-taught
  • achievements, awards (won or shortlisted for), mentorships (formal or informal), residencies, studios or collectives you may be part of 
  • if you do not have much experience, you may supplement the above with:
    • your influences (other artists)
    • what motivates or inspires your work (persons, events, experiences, politics). Usually an artist’s inspiration is saved for an artist statement, but if a statement is not also requested, it is acceptable to include this information in the artist biography (word-count permitting).

An artist statement is about your art and the current themes, concepts and materials present in the work. It may be written in first or third person.

There are free online tools that you can use to reduce the size of your jpg file (like this one).

If you are using a program such as Photoshop (or equivalent) there is often a Save for Web option that use can use to reduce the file size.

Most of our award forms have a limit of 10MB (10,000kb) per image file.

Jpeg (.jpg) is the most common image format. We recommend that you use this filetype when submitting for the awards (unless asked otherwise) as it will be more likely to save at a reasonable size that our system can handle.

PNG (.png) is a high quality image format but can be higher than is necessary for images that are only going to be viewed on a screen.

TIFF (.tif) is a filetype that will not be accepted by our system. This filetype is meant for files that you are not finished working on, and holds on to all possible data in case you need it in the editing process (meaning that the file is quite big). Try exporting a jpeg from your TIFF file and save them as two separate things.

Please check out our resource dedicated to photographing your work.

You might also consider contracting a photographer to take high quality images of your work.

Banner image: Opening of Ngatchu Yarta – my Country by Juanella McKenzie at Light Square Gallery, 2021: an outcome of the Country Arts SA 2021 Breaking Ground award. Image: Sia Duff, courtesy Country Arts SA.