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Indigenous exhibitions

Thursday, 7th February, 2008

Two exhibitions featuring works by indigenous artists will be officially opened at the Regional Art Gallery tonight.

The first exhibition, The Parliament of NSW Indigenous Art Prize, is a $20,000 acquisitive prize for Aboriginal artists born in NSW.

Milton Budge won with his two part work, Ration Day Times. Mr Budge is an older artist who was influenced by a younger one, Robert Campbell Jnr, to create the winning work.

The judges agreed that the strength of Ration Day Times was its historical content. It depicts harder times when work was paid in rations.

"It's great to win the Parliament of NSW Indigenous Art Prize," said Mr Budge.

"You've got these mission artists, these different artists, different from the centre and the top-end. We suffer in national competitions so it is important to see this other side."

The 2007 Parliament of NSW Indigenous Art Prize features a second award, the College of Fine Arts (COFA) Professional Development Award. The prize includes a two-week residency and solo exhibition at the EPS Gallery at COFA's campus in Paddington.

It was won by Frances Belle Parker for her painting, The Vein of Our Existence. This is a picture in acrylic wash of the Clarence River.

According to the judges, it balances an elegant multi-perspective method with issues of personal, familial and political protest.

"I am honoured. You can win awards but very few actually guarantee a solo exhibition. I look forward to going back to COFA. I did my undergraduate studies there. It's going to be an opportunity I aim to utilise one hundred percent," said Ms Belle Parker.

Also on display tonight will be work by five Wilcannia artists called "Wilcannia Mission School Kids".

The name carries forward a theme developed by Badger Bates several years ago when he was working on arts projects in the town. 

The exhibition features recent work by Badger, Phillip Bates, Murray Butcher, Willy Don Hunter and Muriel Riley.

The exhibitions will be opened by Frances Belle Parker at 6.30pm and will continue until March 23.

Also tonight the Regional Art Gallery will announce the winner of the People's Choice prize from its recent Broken Archy exhibition.

That exhibition was of portraits of local people painted by local artists and was run in conjunction with the Archibald Prize show from Sydney.

The public is welcome to attend tonight's exhibition openings.

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