2015 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards Winners Announced

VIAA 2015_Glenda Nicholls_Nigel ClementsArtist Glenda Nicholls has taken out Victoria’s richest Indigenous art prize, the Deadly Art Award, at the 2015 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards for her life-size woven sculptural work, A Woman’s Rite of Passage.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley was at the Art Gallery of Ballarat on Saturday evening where he named Ms Nicholls the winner of the $30,000 prize, selected from 41 finalist works. The award-winning sculptures take the form of three woven cloaks created to represent Indigenous women and the role they play in Welcome to Country ceremonies.

“The Victorian Indigenous Art Awards are a celebration of the creativity of the world’s oldest continuing culture, which is also constantly renewing itself,” said Minister Foley. “Congratulations to all winners and finalists. Their works have created a stunning exhibition that showcases deep pride, connection to culture and incredible artistry. It’s an exhibition that all Victorians should experience.”

Originally from Swan Hill, Ms Nicholls was taught to weave by her mother and grandmother. Now a grandmother herself, she is committed to passing on her skills and knowledge to the next generation.

Other award winners on the night included Peter Waples-Crowe of West Melbourne, Troy Firebrace of Long Gully, and Brendan Kennedy of Robinvale. Doncaster East artist Raymond Young, who won the Award for Three Dimensional Works, first came to art through an Indigenous arts in prisons community program that inspired him to make art that connected him to his culture.

Celebrating their 10th anniversary in 2015, the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards were established by the former Bracks Labor Government in 2005 to raise the recognition of South-East Australian Indigenous art and to provide career opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists throughout Victoria.

The 2015 finalists’ exhibition, hosted by the Art Gallery of Ballarat, showcases stunning traditional works alongside high-end contemporary art. The free exhibition runs until 20 September. For more information, visit: www.artgalleryofballarat.com.au for details.

“The Art Gallery of Ballarat is honored to have hosted the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards for the past three years,” said Gordon Morrison, Director Art Gallery of Ballarat. “We are particularly proud that we are hosting the Awards during their tenth anniversary year, and are pleased to offer a special program of events to mark that occasion.”

Members of the public can now vote for their favourite work as part of the $5,000 Creative Victoria People’s Choice Award. Votes can be cast in the Gallery or online at: www.creative.vic.gov.au. Voting closes 7 September 2015.

Image: Glenda Nicholls – photo by Nigel Clements