Fifteen Indigenous artists and one artists collective are nominated for Australia’s richest art prizes. They are:
Tony Albert (born 1981 Townsville QLD, lives Brisbane QLD)
Lorraine Connelly-Northey (born 1962 Swan Hill VIC, lives Swan Hill VIC)
Timothy Cook (born 1958 Goose Creek, Milikapiti, lives Melville Island NT)
Nici Cumpston (born 1963 Adelaide SA, lives Adelaide SA)
Gali Yalkarriwuy Gurruwiwi (born c1942 Milingimbi NT, lives Elcho Island NT)
Ricardo Idagi (born 1957 Thursday Island, Torres Strait, lives Mer Island
[Murray Island], Torres Strait and Melbourne VIC)
Brian McKinnon (born 1957 Geraldton WA, lives Geelong VIC)
Doreen Reid Nakamarra (born c1955 Warburton WA, lives Kiwirrkura WA)
Yinarupa Nangala (born c 1961 Kiwirrkura region, lives Kiwirrkura WA)
Dennis Nona (born 1973 Badu Island, Torres Strait, lives Brisbane QLD)
Tiger Palpatja (born c1920 place unknown, lives Amata Community SA)
Christopher Pease (born 1969 Perth WA, lives Perth WA)
Shane Pickett (born 1957 Quairading [Ballardung Country] WA, lives Perth WA)
Spinifex Artists Group – Women’s Collaborative (Tjuntjuntjara community WA, Great Victoria Desert)
Wakartu Cory Surprise (born 1929 Great Sandy Desert, lives Fitzroy Crossing WA)
Daniel Walbidi (born 1983 Broome WA, lives Bidyadanga WA)
They were selected from 213 nominations received from arts organisations nationally, which is a significant increase on the 157 nominations submitted for the inaugural awards last year, when Patrick Tjungurrayi and June Walkutjukurr Richards took out the two top prizes. Statistically, more than 50% are West Australians, and more than a third are urban-based. Excitingly, four – Gali Yalkarriwuy Gurruwiwi, Ricardo Idagi, Brian McKinnon and Yinarupa Nangala are names unknown to me.

The selection panel this year was Judith Ryan, senior curator of Indigenous Art at the National Gallery of Victoria; Keith Munro, curator of ATSI Programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney; Clotilde Bullen, curator of Indigenous Art and Dr Stefano Carboni, director “ both at the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

The awards comprise an exhibition of several works by each artist and three non-acquisitive awards totalling $65,000: the Western Australian Indigenous Art Award of $50,000; the Western Australian Artist Award of $10,000; and the People’s Choice Award of $5,000.

The exhibition opens at the Art Gallery of Western Australia on July 25th.