Twenty artists are in the running for prizes totalling more than $50,000 as part of the Victorian Government’s 2012 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards.

The awards, now in their seventh year, profile the diversity of Indigenous arts practice in Victoria and showcase the uniqueness of south-east Australian Aboriginal art.

Premier and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu said the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards played an important role in celebrating and promoting the work of the State’s Indigenous artists and our unique Koorie culture.

“There are many voices and many generations of Indigenous artists in Victoria working to uphold traditions and to express their culture in new and distinct ways,” Mr Baillieu said.

“The shortlisted artists work across a variety of mediums, from traditional painting and weaving techniques to photography, sculpture, video and street art.”

Mr Baillieu said the 27 shortlisted works were selected from 132 entries for this year’s awards.

The awards, which give prizes across five categories, are open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists living in Victoria.

This year’s finalists include both regional and metropolitan artists, past winners and several who have not been shortlisted before. Seven of the shortlisted artists have two artworks on the shortlist.

The finalists were selected by an expert judging panel comprising Dr Treahna Hamm, an Aboriginal artist; Clinton Nain, a Torres Strait Islander artist; and Jason Smith, Director of Heide Museum of Art.

The winners of the 2012 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards will be announced on 9 March 2012 and the finalist exhibition will be open to the public from 10 to 31 March 2012 at the awards partner gallery, fortyfivedownstairs at 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

Details of the award categories are attached. For more information and the full list of shortlisted artists and their work visit the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards blog:

Deadly Art Award “ $25,000
(plus a Highly Commended award to the value of $5,000)
Supported by Arts Victoria

Koorie Heritage Trust Acquisition Award “ $5,000
Sponsored by Koorie Heritage Trust

CAL Victorian Indigenous Art Award for Three Dimensional Works “ $5,000
(plus a Highly Commended award to the value of $1,500)
Sponsored by Copyright Agency Limited, Cultural Fund

CAL Victorian Indigenous Art Award for Works on Paper “ $5,000
(plus a Highly Commended award to the value of $1,500)
Sponsored by Copyright Agency Limited, Cultural Fund

Arts Victoria People’s Choice Award “ $2,500: Awarded to the artist who receives the highest number of votes from the public, via the Arts Victoria website (voting opens on Friday 9 March 2012) – Supported by Arts Victoria