The Vincent Lingiari Art Award has added its voice to the growing campaign around Indigenous water rights, asking for submissions of artworks on the theme 'Ngawa, Ngapa, Kapi, Kwatja, Water'.
Desart, which represents 30 Central Australian Aboriginal Art centres, together with the Central Land Council have called for artworks that "respond to the critical importance of water for the continued survival of Aboriginal peoples."
“We have chosen this year’s theme to spread the word that water rights are land rights,” CLC chair Sammy Wilson said in a statement.
“The government gave us some of our land back but not the water. Water is the new land rights.”
The award was established in 2016, on the 50th anniversary of the Wave Hill Walk Off, when Vincent Lingiari led 200 Gurindji stockmen and their families on strike in protest against stolen wages, land theft and the continued injustices of colonisation.
Desart chief executive Philip Watkins said that the award had always been political.
“This year’s Vincent Lingiari Art Award highlights the campaign for Aboriginal water rights the NT land
councils kicked off last year with their call for a safe drinking water act,” he said in the statement.
"(It) will raise awareness of our struggle against massive water theft that threatens the survival of desert plants, animals and people and for safe drinking water for our remote communities."
This year is the competition's third outing, with $10,000 prize money for the winning entry.
Artists and art centres from the CLC region are invited to make submissions until 30 June, with the exhibition slated for 8 September.