Australia’s richest indigenous contemporary art awards have been launched by Premier Alan Carpenter.

The Premier said the inaugural Western Australian Premier’s Indigenous Art Awards, worth $1.1million over four years, recognised the significant contribution of indigenous artists to our community.

Australia is home to the oldest continual indigenous culture in the world, and our indigenous artists help to define our national identity and raise Australia’s overseas profile, Mr Carpenter said.

Consisting of three awards, this event will highlight the quality works being produced by indigenous artists in WA and raise the profile of contemporary indigenous art.

Culture and Arts Minister Sheila McHale said the awards form part of the Carpenter Government’s exciting $73million Ignite package.

Ignite is designed to make a difference to WA’s cultural landscape by investing in those things that make this State unique, such as our diverse indigenous art industry, Ms McHale said.

We invite art dealers, gallery directors, contemporary art curators, community arts

co-ordinators and artists’ co-operatives to nominate work by outstanding indigenous artists.

Three prizes totalling $65,000 will be awarded, with $50,000 for the Premier of Western Australia’s Indigenous Art Award.

Ignite: The Western Australian Indigenous Artist Award of $10,000 is for a Western Australian artist who is acknowledged as currently developing significant work.

The People’s Choice Award of $5,000 will be selected by visitor ballots during the exhibition at the Art Gallery of WA.

The exhibition will feature a selection of nominated works and will be on display at the Art Gallery of Western Australia from November 1, 2008 until January 11, 2009.

Nominations will be accepted for works by indigenous artists, 18 years or older, made in the two years preceding the closing date of Monday, July 21.

Artists working in any theme or media including paintings on bark, canvas and paper, prints, sculpture, fibre art, ceramics, glass, photography, and digital media can be nominated.

Nomination forms can be downloaded from the Art Gallery of Western Australia website:

Premier’s office- 9222 9475

Office of the Minister for Culture and the Arts – 9213 6900