I’ve just spend a wild weekend in Darwin for the 29th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Art Award.
It is one of Australia’s most prestigious awards – an annual survey of contemporary indigenous art, rewarding excellence, variety and a wide range of practices. Indigenous artists across the country can enter at any stage in their career.
It is also a chance for anyone who is part of an art centre or the outside art world to socialize, talk about trends and catch up on what has happened since the last awards.
The Overall Award of $40,000 was won by Timothy Cook from the Tiwi Islands. There are also awards for Bark Painting, Work on Paper (won by Ramond Zada – a thought provoking work called racebook) and a 3D award.
What did I get up to?
Ramond Zada’s talk on the process of developing his work racebook was a highlight – a young man with an old voice. His work was a response to racist comments on two Facebook pages (with 43,000 followers). The letters of racebook were made up of text taken from actual comments posted in these two groups.
What was great for me was connecting for the first time with art centres who I’d only ever spoken to on the phone. It was wonderful to put faces to voices.
I’ve new work coming in from existing and a couple of new centres arriving over the next few weeks. I have some wonderful new wood carvings coming in from the Tiwi Islands.
I am so happy to come back with works by Bugai Whyoulter and Kathy Maringka to name just a few.
I also snaffled a gorgeous piece by for myself by Bugai Whyoulter.
A very memorable trip.