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PHOTOGRAPHER FINDS INSPIRATION IN NATURE’S BRUSH STROKES, WRITES PRISCILLA MOCA

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(SHAWN SMITS)

fter living in every one of Australia’s states and territories over the past 30 years, it’s little wonder Hopetoun Park’s Wayne Quilliam feels such a strong connection to his country. The professional photographer describes Australia’s people and landscapes as a “powerful motivator” for his art. Two of Quilliam’s works, Birth of Earth and Strength of Knowledge, have been shortlisted for this year’s Victorian Indigenous Art Awards, which feature 45 works by 31 artists. The professor of multimedia and cultural studies at RMIT has already won Walkley, NAIDOC artist of the year and human rights awards and was a finalist for this year’s Bowness Prize. Quilliam believes these awards are an “incredible medium” to showcase the talents of indigenous people from southern states. “I’m at that career stage where awards are to support and promote who we are as a culture,” he says. “My works are very contemporary. People often find the nudity confronting, but the essence of what I’m sharing is that, as human beings, we’re all joined to the earth.”

Quilliam averages 20 exhibitions annually and has had works included in more than 1000 publications and galleries worldwide. But deep down, he says, he’s just a “freshwater man” with an “inexplicable connection” to nature. “Aboriginal people classify themselves from where they’re born; some desert, some tropical, some saltwater. ‘‘Being a freshwater man, I had this desire that I had to be near it again. ‘‘We recently bought this wonderful property that backs on to the Werribee River. It’s already started to influence my art.” Winners of the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards will be announced on November 2, with an exhibition of finalists’ work running until December 8 at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Online voting for a people’s choice award closes November 25. Gordon artist Marlene Gilson has also been nominated for her acrylic on canvas works, Bunjil and Corroboree and Mount Warrenheip and Eureka Stockade. \ pmoca@mmpgroup.com.au » www.indigenousartawards.com.au www.arts.vic.gov.au

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OCTOBER 8, 2013 \ MELTON & MOORABOOL WEEKLY 11

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