Digital photographs, handmade paper, embossed prints, wooden sculptures and illustrated animal skins are among some of the unique works to be chosen as finalists in this year’s Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Prize – the richest 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 College of Fine Art, UNSW.

All 35 finalist 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 a great mix of established and emerging contemporary artists. Speaking through painting, illustration, sculpture and digital media, the artists communicate a rich set of themes from the traditional and natural world through to more contemporary social and political issues.

Black Douglas’s (Adam Hill’s) Coconot is an eye-catching exploration of contemporary social issues, as is Gail Naden’s provocative piece Sovereignty. Eddy Harris’s Spirit captures some of the essence of traditional Aboriginal culture and its connection with the spirit world. Newcomers Cassandra and Jannali Jones have submitted a portrait called Sister ­“ a poignant digital photograph of a young Aboriginal woman, which will hang alongside the works of more established artists such as Albert Digby Moran, who has entered a colourful work titled, Honey Ant Tracks.

The 2013 Parliament of New South Wales Aboriginal Art Prize will be on display at the Parliament from Wednesday 9 to Thursday 31 October 2013. Entry is free and doors are open 8am-5pm Monday to Friday. The winner (to be announced at the Parliament on Wednesday 16th October) will receive a $40,000 cash prize, whilst their work is acquisitive to the Parliament’s permanent fine art collection. In addition, over $120,000 in scholarships will be offered through COFA, including the COFA Indigenous Professional Development Award and two additional student scholarships.

For more information please visit NSW Parliament or Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Prize