The Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards, one of the richest Indigenous arts prizes in the country, were founded in 2008 to celebrate the scope, diversity and excellence of art from all corners of Indigenous Australia. The awards acknowledge the significant and ongoing contribution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists make to Australian art, culture and society.

Fourteen finalists will be represented in the exhibition of the WA Indigenous Art Awards 2015. The artists who have been invited to participate have the opportunity to share in $65,000 in prizes. The awards comprise three non-acquisitive prizes: 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 senior Award will be go to the artist whose selection of current works in the exhibition is considered by the judging panel to be outstanding. The winner of this award and the $10,000 State recipient will be announced at the opening on Friday 3rd July 2015. The People’s Choice Award of $5,000 will be presented at the end of the exhibition season to the artist who receives the highest number of visitor votes.

And the selected artists are:

  • Billy Yunkara Atkins, the Martu artist from Jigalong, WA
  • Megan Cope, the Qandamooka artist, based in Melbourne
  • Steaphan Paton, the Gunal and Monero artist based in Melbourne
  • Betty Puntuwa Pumani, a Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara artist from Mimli, SA
  • Archie Moore, the Kamilaroi artist based in Brisbane
  • Carlene West and Simon Hogan, Pitjantjatjara artists from Tjuntjuntjara, WA
  • Sandra Hill, Nyoongar artist from Ballingup, WA
  • Vincent Namatjira, Arrernte artist from Indulkana, SA
  • John Prince Siddon, Walmajarri artist from Fitzroy Crossing, WA
  • Karla Dickens, Wiradjuri artist from Sydney
  • Tjala Collaborative, Pitjantjatjara artists from Amata, SA
  • Eunice Porter, Ngaanyatjara artists from Warakurna
  • Nongirrrnga Marawili, Yolngu artist from Yirrkala, NT

So “ a heavy prominence of Anangu artists from the APY Lands “ reflecting the continuing excitement of their work, and, surprisingly, only a single artist from the NT. It’ll be great to discover the work of John Prince Siddon and Steaphen Paton, currently unknown to me.

The judges in Perth are Amy Barrett-Lennard, Director of the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) since April 2006 and formerly Manager of the British Pavilion at the 1995 Venice Biennale. Kimberley Moulton is a Yorta Yorta woman from Shepparton, and is currently the Project Officer for Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum. Clotilde Bullen is the Curator of Indigenous Art at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. She is a Wardandi/Bibbulmun Indigenous woman whose family links tie her to Collie and Bunbury in Western Australia.