Two opportunities for indigenous artists to win fine prizes have been announced. Australia’s richest indigenous contemporary art award for 2009 has been launched in WA, with nominations closing on Feb 25th.

There’s a little more time for both Black and White artists to nominate for the newish Togart Award in Darwin. This is open to NT-based artists until April 13th.

It’s particularly good news that the WA Government’s three prizes “ a national one worth $50,000, a WA prize of $10,000 and a People’s Choice Award of $5000 “ should have been renewed so quickly. For the Labor government which inaugurated the Awards last year lost office, and it was speculated that their conservative successors might cancel them completely or hold them biennially.

Last year there were 157 nominations, and the Art Gallery of WA expects that number to be exceeded this year

The winners last year were Patrick Tjungurrayi, who took out the main award, June Walkutjukurr Richards, who won the category acknowledging a WA artist currently creating significant work, while WA’s Shane Pickett was the People’s Choice Award winner.

All artists accepted into the Awards on the basis of a single work are then encouraged to show a small portfolio. Nominations, though can’t come from the artist directly, only from organisations actively involved in the development, exhibition, collection or promotion of indigenous art. Works will go on show at WAAG from July 25th “ bringing them ahead of the well-established NATSIA Awards in the 2009 calender.

Nomination forms are available at

The 2009 Togart Contemporary Art Award will also be announced just ahead of the NATSIAAs “ on August 13th.

Darwin Waterfront Public Art Manager, Felicity Green says that the Award is open to artists from all cultural backgrounds. I encourage all artists who have a connection to the Northern Territory to considered submitting an entry. The Togart Award was established to support the professional development of Territory artists, with a $15,000 cash prize awarded to the work considered by judges to be the most outstanding in the exhibition.

In the second year of Togart “ 2008 – the Award received 128 entries, of which 33 artists were selected as finalists. Well known Yirrkala artist, Djirrirra Wunungmurra was the 2008 Award winner for her work ‘Dhalwangu Gapu 5 Memorial Poles’.

The 2009 Award winner will be announced at the opening of the new Hospitality Complex on the Darwin Waterfront, where $1.5 million has been invested in public art. A People’s Choice Award of $5,000 will also be awarded.

For entry forms visit:, or phone 08 89420523.