Digital photographs, handmade paper, sculptures, jewellery and paintings are among some of the unique works to be chosen as finalists in this year’s Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Prize “ the most valuable art incentive on offer for Aboriginal artists born in or living in New South Wales. The artists are competing for the $40,000 main cash prize, as well as the opportunity to win a coveted residency program at the prestigious University of New South Wales faculty of Art & Design (formerly COFA).

With a record number of entries received this year, it was a tough job for the judges to select the 36 finalists, whose works will be on display in a free public exhibition at the Parliament of NSW this October. Visitors can expect to be inspired, impressed and challenged by the exhibition, which includes an exciting mix of established and emerging artists commenting on a range of themes from the traditional, contemporary and natural world, through to politics, religion and social issues.

Nicole Foreshew and Darren Bell use photography to explore themes of contemporary identity in their works, It comes without seeking and Down cast, cast out, half caste. The Blak Douglas (aka Adam Hill) has created another pop-art inspired piece titled, Do or Die, which contrasts with Gordon Syron’s distinctive style in, Sydney Opera House Dreaming “ NAIDOC Week. Natalie Bateman’s painting of The Wagonga Tragedy captures the fated final hours of the Wagonga Tribe. These works are displayed alongside some beautiful sculpture and mixed media works including jewellery crafted by artist Wayne Simon from echidna quills; a glass didgeridoo by artist Terrence Wright; a series of ceramic pots by Bevan Skinner and a new media installation by Nicole Monks.

The 2014 Parliament of New South Wales Aboriginal Art Prize will be on display at the Parliament from Tuesday 30 September to Thursday 30 October 2014. Entry is free and doors are open 8am-5pm Monday to Friday. The winner (to be announced at the Parliament on Wednesday 15th October) will receive a $40,000 cash prize, and their work is acquisitive to the Parliament’s permanent fine art collection. In addition, over $120,000 in scholarships will be offered through UNSW Art & Design, including the UNSW Art & Design Indigenous Professional Development Award and two additional student scholarships.

Get there if you can, the catalogue of artworks is beautiful.

Exhibition: Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Prize 2014