Culture and the Arts Minister John Day has announced the 2010 Western Australian Indigenous Arts Awards winners and confirmed the awards would also be held in 2011 for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Mr Day said he was pleased the awards would be presented next year, instead of in 2012, as the prestige of the nation’s richest indigenous arts prize would provide an impressive international showcase for CHOGM delegates.

These awards and the award exhibition provide a wonderful opportunity to celebrate WA artists, bring interstate artists to our State and to present local and international audiences with the most impressive indigenous art in Australia, he said.

At the Art Gallery of Western Australia awards ceremony, the Minister presented the Western Australian Indigenous Art Award for 2010 to Wakartu Cory Surprise.

Wakartu Cory Surprise was selected from 185 nominations from across Australia to win the $50,000 prize, Mr Day said.

Wakartu Cory Surprise’s colourful depictions of her country, which I understand she is intimately connected to, are breathtaking and inspiring.

Sonia Kurrara, the winner of the Western Australian Artist Award of $10,000 for her captivating and energetic imagery, also shows a great connection to place in a way that is extremely courageous.

Curator Glenn Iseger-Pilkington said 16 artists were selected to participate in the awards exhibition.

The exhibition includes sculpture, video, painting and photography by five artists from Western Australia and 11 artists from other parts of Australia, Mr Iseger-Pilkington said.

It features great diversity, with challengingly political works, playful childhood recollections, beautifully-textured paintings and striking depictions of country. Mr Day said the award winners were selected by a panel of three judges with specialist knowledge and experience in indigenous visual art.

I acknowledge the selection panel of Stephen Gilchrist, curator of Indigenous Art at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne; Brenda Croft, lecturer of Indigenous Art, Design and Culture at the University of South Australia; and Glenn Iseger Pilkington, associate curator of Indigenous Objects and Photography at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. I thank them for their time and expertise in selecting our winners, he said. A People’s Choice Award of $5,000 is awarded to the most popular piece, as voted by exhibition, which is on show until 3 January 2011.

The Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards and exhibition are supported by the Government of Western Australia through the Department of Culture and the Arts. Images of the winning artwork are available on request.

Media contact: David Whitely – 9213 6600 or 0407 938 854 You can subscribe to have media releases emailed automatically from the Government’s website: