Western Australian artist Shane Pickett has won the final category of Australia’s richest indigenous contemporary art awards, picking up the People’s Choice Award in the inaugural Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards 2008.

Culture and Arts Minister John Day congratulated local artist Shane Pickett on his award, which was voted for by visitors to the awards exhibition at the Art Gallery of Western Australia and through online voting on the gallery’s website.

The public appear to have been captivated by the beauty and ethereal quality of Shane Pickett’s paintings depicting the six Noongar seasons, which he created especially as an entry for this exhibition, Mr Day said.

Although the awards are open to artists from throughout Australia, it is fantastic that three Western Australian artists have swept the board in the first year. It is testament to the quality, diversity and richness of indigenous art being created in WA today.

In October 2008, Premier Colin Barnett presented the $50,000 main award to Patrick Tjungurrayi. June Walkutjukurr Richards won $10,000 for the category that acknowledged a WA artist currently creating significant work while Shane Pickett won $5,000 for the People’s Choice Award.

The public had the opportunity to show if they agreed with the selection panel by choosing their favourite artist from the works on display. The results not only recognised an artist’s achievements but also uncovered the tastes of visitors to the gallery and its website.

People still have the chance to see all the nominated and winning works. The exhibition features works by 15 artists and an artists’ group and is on display at the Art Gallery of Western Australia until January 11. Entry to the exhibition is free.

More information is available at: http://www.artgallery.wa.gov.au

Minister’s office – 9213 6600