A broad field of traditional and contemporary artists were on hand for the richest prize awarded for Indigenous Art in Australia.
By
Craig Quartermaine

Source:
NITV News
23 Aug 2013 - 6:06 PM  UPDATED 26 Aug 2013 - 2:01 PM

The winners of the West Australian Indigenous Art Awards were announced last night in Perth.

A contemporary North Queensland artist took home the top prize of the evening against over 137 nominations from all the country.

A broad field of traditional and contemporary artists were on hand for the richest prize awarded for Indigenous Art in Australia.

There were two top awards: the Best West Australian Piece and Best Overall.

Warmun Ochre artist Churchill Cann was the night's first winner for his work 'Buffalo Hole' .

Mr Cann East Kimberley-inspired art won the $10,000 WA prize and he says he is enjoying the reception his work has received.

"I'm excited, I'm proud," Mr Cann sys. "It's great to come and see the owner of the gallery announce me the winner," he said.

Mr Cann's art tells stories of his home in Warmun and even details his life as a cattleman on the land.

"I just love to see what I'm doing. It makes me happy when they (people) like it."

North Queensland Artist Brian Robinson took home the $50,000 prize for his ceiling-mounted piece called 'Up in the heavens the gods contemplate their next move'.

"Well that's one of the first times I've ever been gobsmacked while talking about my art," Mr Robinson says.

Brian Robinson's use of pop culture and Torres Strait Island mythology was a hit with the judges.

"That's one of the things that I love about arts practice: is the engagement that audiences have with your art work."

Mr Robinson, who has named one of his sons Leonardo after one of his inspirations, explained his version of modern Indigenous art.

"The second wall-based piece, it basically looks at the skill of gardening up in the Torres Strait which sustains community life."

And just what will these artists do with the prize money?

"Well I can't get it from my kids. I wanna do something but they can't let me go and do it on my own," Mr Robinson laughs.