‘Amazing’ art awards night
Saturday, 29th February, 2020
By Callum Marshall
The 10th edition of the Maari Ma Indigenous Art Awards took place last night with about 800 locals coming out to see a fantastic showcase of Indigenous art, music, jewellery and culture.
The awards, which highlight Indigenous art from across the Far West and surrounding regions, took place in the Regional Art Gallery’s carpark with locals able to see the artworks in the Gallery itself.
The outdoor event had lots going on with locals treated to some great live music by Tha Boiz and Nyirey Kickett and his band, an Indigenous art market, activities for the kids as well as food and drink.
Before the award announcements got underway, several quick speeches were made including by Maari Ma’s Executive Manager of Social and Community Programs Justin Files who paid tribute to Katrina Weston - the founder of the Art Awards 10 years ago.
A Welcome to Country ceremony also took place, which was delivered by Carol Kickett.
This year’s judge Bianca Beetson, Director Indigenous Research Unit at Griffith University, announced the award winners with Marcus Kennedy taking out 1st prize and Clinton Kemp 2nd.
Brandy Prescott won the ‘Nhuungku Prize for Excellence’, an award which recognises the artsitic work of Indigenous women, with Cally Doyle taking out the ‘Emerging Artist’ award and Wilcannia Central School the ‘Young Artist (Under 18)’ award.
Speaking after the awards, Ms Beetson said Marcus’ work took out 1st Prize because of his deep appreciation for understanding the roots of his culture as displayed within his works.
“I think that his work actually sends a really positive message around the importance of going back and actually exploring and understanding the authentic art of all people,” she said.
“So he’s been going back and getting artefacts and objects and trying to understand the true work of his area in religion of the Barkindji people.
“Understanding his roots, where he came from, the art, and the origins of the work from his country.”
Council’s Gallery and Museum Manager Tara Callaghan said the attendance for this year’s event had been amazing.
“We didn’t actually expect the full numbers that we’ve got so it’s been pretty good,” she said.
“Having the live music and things for children - it’s been a really family-friendly community event.
“And this compliments a lot of the work we’ve already been doing with people like Blake (Griffiths), who’s our Public Programs Officer.
“He’s been doing programs like FRESHBark and other engagement programs that we’ve got happening throughout the Gallery.”
For Mr Files, the feedback from members of the community had also been very encouraging.
“Hearing some of the comments from community just now they’re like, ‘oh my God, Broken Hill’s changing.’ Everyone’s out here tonight. Black and white alike.
“It’s fantastic to see so many families that we normally wouldn’t see come to events in the park let alone events in the Gallery carpark.
“So thankyou to all the artists that really put themselves out there and really wanted to share what’s going on for them.
“I know that for a lot of Indigenous people it’s not easy to share that kind of personal side to them that comes out in their artworks.
“I’ve got so much respect and love for those guys. I think that they’ve done a fantastic job.”