SALA Award


This award is for artists whose work explores social justice themes which align with the objectives and priorities of the Don Dunstan Foundation including:

  • Homelessness
  • Mental health
  • Migration (including cultural and ethnic diversity)
  • The purpose economy (i.e. economic equality)
  • Aboriginal economic empowerment and reconciliation
  • Human rights
  • Don Dunstan.

The prize is $1,000 cash to support the artist’s work.


Congratulations to Tom Phillips,  the 2021 winner of the Don Dunstan Foundation SALA Festival Award.

Tom Phillips’s exhibition Another day, another lonely night focused on the fear of loneliness, isolation, and human struggles and it was on display at The Main Gallery in Adelaide.

“In this series of paintings entitled ‘Another day, another lonely night’, I examine the culture and identity of living within urban society, focusing on fear of loneliness and isolation. I want to express vulnerability, anxiety and our fragile existence in this modern world. I see my figures as outsiders, aliens or people forgotten by our society, which struggle to exist in this municipal environment. I try to catch my raw feelings about these issues, and my paintings have always been about human struggles and the urban experience.”



Image: Tom Phillips and Acting Executive Director Satu Teppo at the SALA Finissage 2021. Photographer Sam Roberts.

The 2021 finalists are:

  • Kunmanara Carroll, was a Luritja/Pintupi/Pitjantjatjara established artist based in Pukatja and working from Ernabella Arts. You can see his work, ceramics and stoneware concerned with passing on cultural heritage, in Gallery One at JamFactory.
  • Tom Phillips, whose work focuses on the fear of loneliness, isolation, and human struggles, at The Main Gallery on Halifax St, Adelaide.
  • Tailor Winston, an emerging interdisciplinary artist, using visual art, performance and spoken word to explore concepts such as decolonisation, environmentalism and spiritual identity, at Nexus Arts.

The Don Dunstan Foundation Award explores art that aligns with social justice. Now, more than ever, we need to deliver empathy and compassion through many mediums, for those who live in different circumstances than us and the Foundation continues to drive outcomes for a more equitable society. In 2020, we were so pleased to see over 30 entrants whose art touched on many themes including homelessness, mental health, culture and migration. This year’s winner of our $1,000 cash award is Makeda Duong’s Mixed Race Sweater.

The Mixed Race Sweater showed that Australia’s multicultural society and it’s casual racism can lead to cultural anxieties. The sweater was poignantly knitted in the colours of both the Australian flag and the (south) Vietnamese flag to represent Makeda’s bi-racial background.

The bold wording throughout the piece communicated Makeda’s feelings of being caught in between cultures and had a strong effect on the judges, particularly comments such as ‘Are you Australian?’ and ‘But you’re not full Asian?’.

Read more about Makeda’s Mixed Race Sweater on her website or her Facebook page.

Brad Darkson

Hold me

18 Aug – 18 Sept | Samstag Museum of Art

Read Brad’s biography and award submission, here.


Makeda Duong

Mixed Race Sweater

7 Aug – 4 Sept | Nexus Arts Gallery

Read Makeda’s biography and award submission, here.





Carolyn Corletto

Chair 2

8 – 9 Aug | Collective Haunt Inc.

Read Carolyn’s biography and award submission, here.




Sue Webb, Deborah Baldassi and DDF Deputy Director, Gemma Burdon

Congratulations to the 2019 winners of the Don Dunstan Foundation SALA Festival Award.

Deborah Baldassi and Sue Webb were announced as this year’s winners for their impressive and thought-provoking installation, Safe Harbour.

Their work has been on show at the Clayton Wesley Uniting Church in Beulah Park and at the Migration Museum.

Deborah and Sue have generously donated their prize to: Gifts for Manus and Nauru to go towards phone credits for the asylum seekers and refugees there.

Read more about Safe Harbour, SALA Winners Pay It Forward or visit their Facebook page.

Deborah Baldassi and Sue Webb

Safe Harbour






Daniel Connell




Sally Findlay

Homeless women





Nate Hutton

The Struggle



Congratulations to Gerry Wedd, winner of the 2018 Don Dunstan Foundation Award as part of SALA Festival.

SONGS FOR A ROOM is Wedd’s most ambitious project yet. Wedd creates a world where song writing, Delft tile painting, popular culture and art history collide with current socio-political issues.
As part of Wedd’s commentary on the commodification of art and culture in a time when people continue to live below the poverty line, each tile in this speculative shelter is available to purchase, with 50% of proceeds donated to Adelaide Day Centre for Homeless Persons.

We extend our congratulations to all the winners and nominees from this year’s festival!

Watch Gerry speaking about his work

Liminal | Thom Buchannan

Any future vision should attempt to communicate with and through the thousands of years of history that precedes it, from Indigenous understandings and uses of place through to contemporary migrant experiences. I aim to create images that work both away and towards into past and future, using fusion and decay.

Note: This work won the people’s choice $5k prize in the 2017 Hadley’s Art Prize for landscapes in Hobart.

City Dissociations 01 | Alex Mausolf

Living with intense mental health challenges and constant auditory hallucinations, Alex expresses these experiences through his digital photographic long-exposure images which visually explore his reality of living in a waking dream through the contrasts of the crisp details and the blurred illusory appearance of the water and clouds.

Between the Silence and the Heartbeat | Clancy Warner

“Between the Silence and the Heartbeat” references the indifference to Aboriginal deaths in Australia. Deaths in police custody, children being deliberately run over, suicide, disease and health related illnesses. There’s been 60,000 years of survival and resilience; it’s now time for us all to stand up and break this silence.


SONGS FOR A ROOM critiques the commodification of arts and culture, during a time when people continue to live below the poverty line. Each tile in this speculative shelter is available to purchase, with 50% of proceeds donated to Adelaide Day Centre for Homeless Persons.