Koumalatsos has been awarded a cash prize of $10,000 for her work Portrait Of Sister In Laws; Wemba Wemba Great Aunty Frieda Stewart And Wergaia Great Grandmother Eleanor Stewart, 2019.
In a statement about her work, Koumalatsos said, “This blouse is a portrait of my ancestors-the possum fur printed blouse from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. It represents the strength of the woman in my family and their ability to do more than simply survive the oppression of the times.”
“The possum fur print symbolises the cultural identity of Granny and Aunty regardless of the colonising life that was around them. Granny who was born on Ebenezer Mission in 1887 and was a strong and determined woman who had kept her own dictionary of Wergaia language. The photograph was taken early 1900’s.”
The judging panel for the 7th Koorie Art Show included Aunty Esther Kirby OAM (Yorta Yorta and Wiradjuri), Elder and Artist; Myles Russell-Cook, Curator Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Victoria; and Steven Rhall (Taungurung), artist and academic.
“This year’s awards were absolutely some of the best work at the Koori Heritage Trust Art Show,” said the judging panel. “It was extremely hard to make a decision, with so many high-quality works. All artists should be congratulated on their exceptional work.”
With a total prize pool of $32,000, the Award Judges also announced Peter Waples-Crowe, Ngarigo as winner of the Metro Tunnel Creative Program 2D Award; and Ngardang Girri Kalat Mimini Victorian Indigenous Women’s and Trans Diverse Art Collective as winner of the Viva Energy 3D Award.
Kait James, Wadawurrung was awarded the Lendlease Reconciliation Award; and Tammy Gilson, Wadawurrung received the RMIT University Emerging Artist Award. Greg Muir, Yorta Yorta and Tanisha Lovett, Wotjobaluk, Gunditjmara each received Koorie Heritage Trust Highly Commended Awards. The Koorie Heritage Trust People’s Choice Award will be announced at the close of the exhibition.
“The calibre and incredible range of work is indicative of a flourishing contemporary Koorie art scene here in Victoria,” said Tom Mosby, CEO Koorie Heritage Trust. “The show also continues the Koorie Heritage Trust’s role of incubating, nurturing and promoting Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and artists to the broadest possible audience.”
The Koorie Art Show is an annual art Award and exhibition and is the only exhibition in Victoria dedicated to showcasing the work of Koorie and Victorian based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. 90 artists from across Victoria submitted works for the Award.
The Koorie Art Show has been a spring-board for national recognition with many of the artists finding gallery representations, going on to present solo shows throughout Australia and to have their work in national collections, both private and public. All works are available for sale.
The Koorie Art Show
Koorie Heritage Trust, Yarra Building – Federation Square, Melbourne
Exhibition continues to 23 February 2020
For more information, visit: www.koorieheritagetrust.com.au for details.
Image: The Koorie Art Show 2019 at Koorie Heritage Trust (Installation view) – photo by Christian Capurro