• 'Above us only sky' 2013. Pigment print on aluminium with acrylic paint. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Tony Albert wins South Australia’s $65,000 Fleurieu Art Prize with 'The Hand You’re Dealt'.
By
NITV Staff Writer

6 Jun 2016 - 1:07 PM  UPDATED 6 Jun 2016 - 1:10 PM

The artwork of Tony Albert, a Girramay and Kuku Yalanji man from far north Queensland, tells Australia’s story from an Indigenous lens, exploring the force of British colonialism and Aboriginal identity in contemporary life.

And the 35-year-old artist has just won South Australia's Fleurieu Art Prize with his installation 'The Hand You're Dealt' - made with kitsch, colonial souvenirs like playing cards and drink coasters. 

Albert sources material from across the globe to create his art and uses contemporary techniques and motifs from pop culture and Australia's past racist depictions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, appropriating from films, fiction and art history.

On Anzac Day in 2015, the City of Sydney unveiled a sculpture he created in Sydney’s Hyde Park that commemorates Indigenous soldiers, who went largely unrecognised for their service in wars Australia took part in. 

The 'Yininmadyemi, thou didst let fall' permanent sculpture was formed with four seven-metre tall steel and marble bullets by three fallen shells that sit along a large boomerang-shaped concrete base.

A TONY ALBERT SCULPTURE
Bullet sculpture for Indigenous diggers unveiled
A dramatic sculpture has been unveiled in Sydney's CBD as a tribute to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service men and women.

"I chose the bullet because it is a strong symbol of war, it is a symbol of life and of death," he told NITV that year.

"I also liked the idea the bullets could be metaphorical of people, soldiers standing, soldiers fallen.

"It is important that we actually stop and learn about the past and learn the true stories, the real stories." 

Art institutions around Australia host the young artist's work, including the Australia National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art and the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

His work has also been featured in exhibitions across the globe including the Singapore Art Museum, Cemeti Art House in Indonesia’s cultural city of Yogyakarta, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel, the National Museum of China, Beijing, and Musée d’Aquitaine in Bordeaux, France.

And it's getting noticed.

In 2014 he won Australia’s $100,000 Basil Sellers Art Prize and the $50,000 Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award.

The next year he did a residency program at the prestigious New York International Studio and Curatorial Program.

In 2016, the award-winning artist will take over the reins for Season 3 of Colour Theory on NITV, a show that sets out to provide a dynamic view on Australia’s Indigenous contemporary arts scene. 

“I never imagined I would be hosting this third iteration," he says.

"It is an honour and a privilege.

"This new series showcases the diverse cultural expression of Australia, where through art, we can come to understand the world we live in.”

Alberts started out by completing a degree in Visual Arts, majoring in Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art, at Griffith University in 2004.

During his degree he undertook a traineeship at the Queensland Art Gallery for the major exhibition, Story place: Indigenous art of Cape York and the Rainforest, 2003, before becoming an exhibitions project officer and Indigenous trainee coordinator there until 2007 when he launched his solo career.

Colour Theory  - hosted by Tony Albert returns for Season Three on NITV at 9.00pm on Sunday from 12 June.