The strength of the 2021 CVIAA award is a testament to the creative talents of First Nations Artists living in the Clarence Valley. Three winners were announced at the exhibition opening on Saturday June 19.
The Awards were judged by Katina Davidson, Curator, Indigenous Australian Art, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art. Katina identifies as a descendant of the Purga Mission, Queensland with cultural connections to the Kullilli and Yuggera people, and maternal non-Indigenous, Australian heritage. She is one of the founding members of BlakLash Collective in Brisbane and she remarked on the outstanding quality of the entries and congratulated all artists. A further People’s Choice Award of $1,000 will be announced at the conclusion of the exhibition.
The 2021 CVIAA Open Acquisitive Prize of $5,000 was awarded to Wes*, for the work Yabbies Dreaming. Wes is a Dunghutti/Bundgalung man who has been painting all his life. Currently an inmate in Clarence Correctional Centre, the award was accepted on Wes’ behalf by a representative who acknowledged the difference a sense of connection to community through creative and culture-based programs can make to the success of an inmate’s rehabilitation and reintegration.
Clarence Correctional Centre engaged with local Aboriginal Elders, Clarence Valley Council, Corrective Services NSW, NorthernPathways and Serco, and with their support entered 21 works into the Clarence Valley Indigenous Art Award and are extremely honoured to take this award back to Wes and the centre.
With a love of connecting to country through painting, Wes’s work focuses on places and people that help tell the story of his people, his family, and his country. Water animals and spirits feature predominately in his work with Yabbies Dreaming telling the story of the memories that he had as a child.
The Emerging Artist Prize of $1,000 was awarded to Jara’na Dutton, for his work Waarru – biin jagun. The Youth Encouragement Award of Art Materials from Bentleg Gallery and Art Supplies was presented to Maisie Monaghan for her work Dirrangun.
Gallery Director, Niomi Sands said ‘this year’s CVIAA has been the strongest yet, with a wonderful selection of artworks celebrating the creative talent of First Nations Artists within the Clarence Valley. Many of the works in CVIAA celebrate a deep connection to cultural heritage and identity, and share stories about country, place, and community and I congratulate all artists who have taken part in this wonderful exhibition.’
Visitors to the Gallery can vote for their favourite artwork as part of the Peoples Choice Award which will be announced when the exhibition closes on 1 August and the winning artist will receive $1,000.
*real name not used