Kamahi-Djordon King 'Attack of the 50 Foot Black Gin' 2010 Digital Print on Metallic Paper 191 x 120cm
Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 18.03.11
Location: fortyfivedownstairs – 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.
Melbourne-based contemporary artist Ben McKeown has been awarded Victoria’s biggest prize for indigenous artists – the $25,000 Deadly Art Award, supported by Arts Victoria.
McKeown was one of four artists to take out top honours at the 2011 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards last weekend, celebrating the depth and diversity of Victoria’s indigenous arts sector.
Premier and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu said McKeown’s untitled work, a large-scale recreation of a Polaroid photograph, redefined the concept of indigenous art and was an excellent example of how Victorian indigenous artists were celebrating their distinct culture in new and dynamic ways.
“Unanimously selected as the Deadly Art Award winner, Untitled demonstrates the energy and passion of indigenous artists in Victoria, who work across a range of traditional and contemporary mediums to tell the stories of a rich and proud indigenous culture,” Mr Baillieu said. “Our indigenous arts sector is constantly evolving as a key part of the contemporary art scene right across the state.”
The judges' commentary on McKeown's work was: "His photograph is a poignant representation of urban Aboriginal identity and presents a strong message relating to lost culture through colonisation and subsequent urbanisation. The image of a man obscured by traditional implements has the viewer’s eye returning to it. The artist has cleverly not titled
the work, strengthening the inherent mystery and demanding of the audience a closer inspection, more analysis, interpretation and discussion.
Other 2011 Victorian Indigenous Art Award winners are:
Naretha Williams, whose digital projection work Shifter received the $5,000 Koorie Heritage Trust Acquisition Award. The work, portraying dance as ceremony and ritual, will be the first digital projection work to enter the Trust’s permanent collection;
Kamahi-Djordon King, who received the $5,000 CAL Art Award for Works on Paper for Attack of the 50 Foot Black Gin, a contemporary take on 1950s movie posters; and
Paola Balla, who received the $5,000 CAL Award for Three Dimensional Works for her small-scale sculptural work titled A Little Birdy Told Me.
The 2011 VIAA judging panel included artist and curator Maree Clarke of the Koorie Heritage Trust, contemporary artist and 2009 Deadly Art Award winner Bindi Cole, and Director of the Geelong Gallery Geoffrey Edwards.
Artist Talks will be held on Saturday 19 March and Saturday 26 March from 2-4pm. Artists will talk about their work with the 2011 curator, Nicholas Boseley – himself a previous Victorian Indigenous Art Award winner.
The free 2011 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards exhibition, including all 25 short-listed works, is now open at fortyfivedownstairs – 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.
Voting is now open for the Arts Victoria People’s Choice Award, an opportunity for the public to vote for their favourite work. The artist responsible for the most popular artwork will receive $2,500. To vote go to: www.arts.vic.gov.au/peopleschoice
Voting closes at 5pm on Sunday 27 March.
Ben McKeown 'Untitled' 2010 C Type Print on Crystal Archive paper. 126.5 x 107cm