The Age previews the five shortlisted candidates for the Kate Challis RAKA Award:

Along with five others – Samantha Hobson, Fiona Foley, Gali Yalkarriwuy Gurruwiwi, Lisa Michl Ko-manggen and Pauline Sunfly Nangala – Thompson has just been shortlisted for the annual Kate Challis RAKA Award for indigenous creative artists. The $25,000 prize (to be awarded next week) is aimed at different disciplines each year; this year, its 18th, focuses on the visual arts. The entrants, like Thompson, invite many ways of returning their particular gazes.

Indigenous art has exploded massively in the past few decades, exposing audiences here and abroad to a huge breadth of styles, from the most commonly known traditions – dot and bark painting – to edgy urban contemporary works.

To cement this at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, director Ron Radford and indigenous art curator Brenda Croft are busy with a massive project: a new Indigenous Galleries wing, expected to be finished in about a year.

And in Melbourne, the director of the National Gallery of Victoria, Gerard Vaughan, is also hoping to have a new, separate wing for indigenous art built over the railyards at the Federation Square site. Events such as RAKA are helping to support indigenous artists and give viewers what is, as the entrants reveal, an extraordinary diversity in style and artistic premise that avoids (thankfully) being pigeonholed.