Graduate in Master of Fine Arts (research) from UNSW Art & Design, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran has won the Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Art Award. Presented at Shepparton Art Museum (SAM), the biennial prize is worth $50,000 and is considered the premier national award for artists working in ceramics.

Judges included former SAM director and now National Gallery of Australia deputy director Kirsten Paisley, who said: “Ramesh has produced an extraordinary body of major sculptural works that are exceptionally exciting. Drawing on diverse sources from pre-colonial Hindu devotional sculpture to Christianity and sexualized bodies he explores fertility and creation, religion and gender. His work evokes the energy and reverence of `the deity’ while embodying the playfulness of a story-book action hero.”

Dylan Rainforth from the Sydney Morning Herald looks at Nithiyendran’s CV with shows titled One Hung Bitch, Polished Turds and Dickheads and asks ‘Is he the bad boy of ceramics?’

Ramesh is no stranger to success. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Freedman Foundation Travelling Art Scholarship, he has been a finalist in the Blake Prize (2013) and the John Fries Award (2014) and was recently awarded the 2014 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (emerging) administered through Arts NSW. He has exhibited at various spaces including; Firstdraft, UTS Gallery, Alaska Projects, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA), UNSW Galleries, Artspace and Canberra Contemporary Art Space.

The five finalists’ works will be on display at the Shepparton Art Museum until November 22.

Nithiyendran’s win has, unsurprisingly, generated no end of great press. You can read and hear more about the win on the ABC, Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian (behind a paywall).