The Australian previews the announcement of the WA Premier’s Indigenous Art awards:

The $50,000 WA Premier’s Indigenous Art Award aims to reveal new talent as well as the known.

Can a group of men from the Great Victoria Desert win Australia’s richest indigenous art prize, to be announced in Perth tonight? Or will the winning entry be a cluster of AFL footy players carved in wood? Will it be an exquisite linocut series from the assured hand of a Torres Strait Islander print-maker or the bluntly worded canvases of a little-known Ngaanyatjarra linguist?

Whoever wins the West Australian Premier’s Indigenous Art Award will go away with two gifts: the generous $50,000 prize (which exceeds the Telstra art prize by $10,000) and rare public exposure for a body of their best work. Even the losers, the other 15 finalists, will each benefit from having four self-selected works hung in a curated show at the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

The result is a handsome exhibition of 90 canvases — many of them surprisingly large — that act as a fine counterpoint to Cultural Warriors, the inaugural National Indigenous Art Triennial touring show from the National Gallery of Australia that has reached the state gallery in Perth.

There’s a delight in being able to walk across AGWA’s marble concourse between the two exhibitions. Inevitably, there are overlapping artists: Jean Baptiste Apuatimi, Daniel Boyd, Shane Pickett and Gordon Hookey feature in both shows. Walk between them and you can compare the powerful kick of Hookey’s earlier (2005) comic-book style, like Grog Gott’im, with work that features Hookey’s newest persona, a giant black Wonder Woman who provocatively straddles the world.


Artist: patrick tjungurrayi

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Gallery: Art Gallery of WA ,