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Victorian Indigenous Art Awards winners announced

by Ben Starick 5 November 2013

T

hornbury artist Ray Thomas has taken out the state’s richest Indigenous art prize, the $30,000 Deadly Art Award at the 2013 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards. Presenting the major Award at the Art Gallery of Ballarat today, Minister for the Arts Heidi Victoria said the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards aimed to build the profile of southeast Australian Indigenous art and Victoria’s Indigenous artists. Thomas, who has been working as an artist for more than 25 years, won for his oil on canvas portrait of his mother A Gunnai Elder – Mum Alice, which judges described as ‘a work of singular spiritual power’. “The Victorian Indigenous Art Awards seek to showcase the unique character of the Indigenous

Winner of Deadly Art Award, Ray Thomas, with his canvas portrait Mum Alice. Image supplied

art, and artists, who live, work and are inspired by this part of Australia,” Ms Victoria said. The 41 finalist works showcase both traditional and contemporary art practices and range from a traditionally woven eel trap, to pokerwork on wood, paintings, video art, photography and sculpture. More than $50,000 in prizes were presented at the Awards ceremony, with Torquay artist Bronwyn Razem receiving the $5,000 University of Ballarat Acquisitive Award and Lucy WilliamsConnelly of Swan Hill receiving the Australian Catholic University Acquisitive Award, also with a $5,000 prize. Other Award winners included Maryborough artist Georgia MacGuire and Peter Waples-Crowe

of West Melbourne, who took out the Copyright Agency Limited’s Awards for three dimensional works and works on paper respectively. Ms Victoria congratulated all winners and 2013 finalists and said that it is now the public’s turn to be the judge for the 2013 Arts Victoria People’s Choice Award, worth $2,500. “This year’s finalist works celebrate the incredible depth and diversity of Victoria’s Indigenous arts sector and they feature in a stunning exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. I encourage everyone to visit the exhibition either in person or online via the Arts Victoria website and cast their vote for their favourite,” Ms Victoria said. Art Gallery of Ballarat Director Gordon Morrison said that all the

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Wemba Wemba and Gunditjmara woman, Paola Balla, with her entry Untitled. “I have long admired Tracey Bunda, a Ngugi/Wakka Wakka woman for her brilliant writing, Earlier this year she had open heart surgery after a heart attack and invited me to photograph her scar for an article she’s writing reminding Indigenous people to take care with their health. I see her scar, hands and her sister’s shawl like a landscape—like our homelands, blood lines, the survival and beauty of Aboriginal women. Having struggled with my mental and physical health after experiencing trauma too common to Aboriginal women, I am grateful to Tracey for her courage, strength and vulnerability, and for this collaboration, which she describes as ‘an exercise in liberation and education.” Paola said she was excited to be shortlisted and although not one of the winners, was honoured that the Australian Catholic University bought one of the prints and have requested that Tracey and Paola attend a function to present the painting and to address the Nursing students. Image supplied

finalists were to be congratulated for the range and quality of the work on show. “My fellow judges and I were impressed with the way Ray Thomas has referenced the naïve tradition of artists like Henri Rousseau to pay tribute to the experience of Melbourne’s urban Aboriginal community over four generations, acknowledging cultural connection through the elders to an era before white settlement. It is as much an icon as it is a portrait,” Mr Morrison said. “The Art Gallery of Ballarat is very proud to be joining with Arts Victoria to offer this very special exhibition and showcase of Victorian Indigenous art to the people of Victoria and beyond.” View the online gallery and vote for the Arts Victoria People’s Choice Award at www.arts.vic. gov.au/peopleschoice voting closes

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Monday 25 November 2013. The Victorian Indigenous Art Awards exhibition is now open at the Art Gallery of Ballarat and runs until Sunday 8 December. Other award winners: CAL Victorian Indigenous Art Award for Three Dimensional Works - $5,000 [Highly commended $1,500] Sponsored by: Copyright Agency Limited, Cultural Fund WINNER Georgia MacGuire – Ill-fitted Young HIGHLY COMMENDED John Duggan – Tools of the trade “Hunter” CAL Victorian Indigenous Art Award for Works on Paper - $5,000 [Highly commended $1,500] Sponsored by: Copyright Agency Limited, Cultural Fund WINNER Peter Waples-Crowe – Just Sayin’ HIGHLY COMMENDED Bindi

Cole – A Time Like This Australian Catholic University Acquisitive Award - $5,000 Most outstanding work based on spirituality and cultural tradition, Sponsored by: Australian Catholic University WINNER Nathalie (Lucy) Williams-Connelly – My Family Life University of Ballarat Acquisitive Award - $5,000 Most outstanding work reflecting Victoria’s Western District Sponsored by: University of Ballarat WINNER Bronwyn Razem – Eel trap with emu feathers Exhibition is open from Saturday, 2 November 2013 – Sunday, 8 December 2013 at Art Gallery of Ballarat, 40 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat. Open daily from 10am – 5pm. http://indigenousartawards.com.au/

Victorian indigenous arts awards winner announced  

Thornbury artist Ray Thomas has taken out the state’s richest Indigenous art prize, the $30,000 Deadly Art Award at the 2013 Victorian Indig...

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