APY Lands artist Sylvia Ken has won the $50,000 Wynne Prize for her painting, Seven Sisters.
Aunty Ken is from the Amata community in South Australia’s far north west and comes from a big family of artists and Traditional Owners.
The painting depicts an ancient story about an ancestral being who takes the form of a man and curses seven sisters across the land and the sky.
“I paint the story of my country," said Ms Ken, who has painted at the Tjala Arts centre for many years.
“This story is important for me and for so many women across the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjattjara Lands.’’
“Today is an important day for me, but I share my prize with everyone at my art centre and all the women who I work alongside.”
Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand heaped praise on Ms Ken’s painting.
“This complex work recalls the starry skies of the Milky Way as much as it does the rest of the land where the Seven Sisters story takes place, on Sylvia’s country where her family are the traditional owners,” he said.
It marks the fourth consecutive year that Indigenous artists have won the Wynne Prize. The Ken Family Collaborative won in 2016, followed by APY painter Betty Kuntiwa Pumani in 2017 and WA’s Yukultji Napangati in 2018.
Elsewhere, this year’s Archibald Prize was taken out by artist Tony Costa for his portrait of contemporary Buddhist artist Lindy Lee.