Gunybi Ganambarr's 2011 WA Award Winner, 'Milngurr' 2011, ochre, earth pigment and acrylic binder on rubber 97 x 77 cm. Purchased by the StateArt Collection, 2011 © Gunybi Ganambarr
Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 14.02.13
Gallery: Art Gallery of WA
Dates: 23.08.13 : 27.01.14
The Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards, the richest Indigenous arts prize in the country since they began in 2008, today announced the 16 artists who'll fight it out for a share in $65,000 worth of prizes. They include such leaders in their different fields as Christian Bumburra Thompson, Nora Wompi, the 80-year old Wintjiya (No 1) Napaltjarri and Brian Robinson.
The artists were selected by a panel consisting of John Barrett-Lennard, a WA curator and academic researching the impact of Aboriginal art on Australian art generally since 1970, Hetti Perkins, ex AGNSW Curator of Indigenous Art now preparing something called the Corroboree Festival for Sydney in November, and Clotilde Bullen, WA's Indigenous Curator since 2005. What's happened to the WA Gallery's 2010 and 2011 Curator of Indigenous Art, Glen Iseger-Pilkington who ran the last two Awards – now biennial – I wonder? You may recall that the Yolngu, Gunybi Ganambarr from NW Arnhemland took out the big award then, and Jan Billycan from Bidyadanga the specifically WA prize.
The popular Brisbane photographer, Michael Cook was the People's Choice at the end of the 2011 show – worth $5000.
Bullen's job will now be to help each artist select a powerful group of works – this isn't a prize for just one artwork – to make their case for the show, which opens in August.
It's a busy year for both Christian Thompson – currently showing in Oxford, UK, where he's the pioneering Aboriginal scholar – and Yhonnie Scarce, a glass artist selected for one of the Venice Biennale's sideshows. And it's good to see the culturally dynamic APY Lands numbers at two – Ray Ken and Ngipi Ward. Also Queensland's tripartite representation, with Abe Muriata from the Rainforest, Lawrence Omeenyo from Lockhart River on the Cape and Brian Robinson with his complex blend of Torres Strait and Classical Greek mythologies, shows how that State has backed its Indigenous artists into prominence. And Churchill Cann's selection reveals the resilience of the Warmun artists who were flooded out there so recently.
The sixteen artists selected to exhibit are: (listed alphabetically)
Churchill Cann WA Gija
Julie Gough TAS Trawlwoolway
Ray Ken SA Pitjantjatjara / Yankunyjatjara
Beaver Lennon SA Antikirinya Mirning
Minyawe Miller WA Warnman
Abe Muriata QLD Girramay
Wintjiya Napaltjarri NT Pintupi
Lawrence Omeenyo QLD Umpila
Brian Robinson QLD Kala Lagain Ya
Yhonnie Scarce VIC Kokatha / Nukunu
Dulcie Sharpe NT Luritja
Christian Thompson VIC Bidjara
Conrad Tipungwuti NT Tiwi
Wukun Wanambi NT Yolngu / Miwatj
Ngipi Ward WA Ngaanyatjarra
Nora Wompi WA Manyjilyjarra
Jan Billycan's 2011 WA Award winner, 'Kirriwirri', 2011 synthetic polymer paint on linen 120 x 90 cm. Purchased for the State Art Collection 2011 © Jan Billycan