No pain, no gain

by John posted June 27, 2015 category Art / Design, Koorie, Painting, Uncategorized

I’m currently pretty happy. I’ve been announced on the shortlist for the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards, at my first attempt at participating in any sort of art competition, despite practicing my art in one form or another for over 30 years. It was about time that I put myself out there, in a capacity other than as a commercial artist or illustrator.

I’m under no illusions as to how I might fare, given that I am in some very talented company. Including some people I respect greatly, including Ray Thomas, a past winner of the award. I’m happy simply to have been chosen. It’s a good start to this part of my artistic career.



The 10th anniversary of the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards has begun with the announcement of one of the largest shortlists in the event’s history.

Forty-one artworks by 35 artists will go on show at the Art Gallery of Ballarat in August. They will vie for prizes worth more than $50,000 including the State’s richest Indigenous art prize, the $30,000 Deadly Art Award.

Announcing the shortlist today, Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards were established by the Victorian Government in 2005 with the aim of raising the profile of Victoria’s unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts sector and creating career development opportunities for artists.

Over the past 10 years, the Awards have showcased more than 280 artworks including works by acclaimed and internationally recognised Victorian artists such as Bindi Cole and Reko Rennie. Featured artists have gone on to have their work acquired by collectors and galleries such as the National Gallery of Victoria, the Koorie Heritage Trust and the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Their involvement has also led to special commissions, gaining representation and exhibition opportunities across the country.

Alongside emerging artists, this year’s shortlist includes three former winners of the Deadly Art Award, Jenny Compton (2014), Ray Thomas (2013) and Trevor ‘Turbo’ Brown (2012), who have each credited the Awards with supporting them to take the next step in their careers.

The shortlist includes artists from all regions across the state and features works across a range of mediums including traditional pokerwork, painting, sculpture, photography and digital video works.

The 2015 judging panel comprised well-respected artist and first recipient of the Deadly Art Award, Vicki Couzens and Caroline Martin, Manager of the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum.

The Victorian Indigenous Art Awards are open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists who live or were born in Victoria. The 2015 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards will be announced on 8 August 2015 at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. The Awards exhibition will run from 9 August to 20 September. A full shortlist is available at

Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley

“Congratulations to all artists shortlisted for the 2015 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards. In a milestone year, it is fitting to have such a large and diverse shortlist.”

“The past 10 years have seen growth in the Victorian Aboriginal arts and cultural sector across all art forms. These Awards have played a significant role in the visual arts sector by showcasing the distinctive character of South East Australian Indigenous art.

“The Andrews Labor Government is committed to putting the Victorian Aboriginal creative and cultural story at the heart of our Creative Industries.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Natalie Hutchins

“The Andrews Labor Government is proud to support the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards which help raise the profile of our state’s unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts sector and create career pathways into this captivating industry.”


Paola Balla, FOOTSCRAY (two works)
Sticks and Stones
And the matriarchs sang

Trevor ‘Turbo’ Brown, BRUNSWICK (three works)
Angry Dingo Howling at the Moon
Spiritual Bunjil Eagle extends his giant wings
Two Cranes: Turbo with his much loved mum

Jade Couzens, GEELONG
Rainbow Serpent

Jenny Crompton, BELLBRAE
Coolamon, with beaked mussel and barnacle

Matthew Edwards, FITZROY NORTH
School Report

Troy Firebrace, LONG GULLY
A Galaxy Swirl

Marlene Gilson, GORDON
Bunji’s Final Meeting Place, Race Meeting at Lal Lal

Leonie Green, TRARALGON
Ancestors watching over us

Gail Harradine, HORSHAM (two works)
Young women (nan nan gurk)
Mussel shells

Frances Harrison and Lennie Hayes, LAKES ENTRANCE
Kangaroo Tales

John Huggins, NORTHCOTE
Not titled

Brendan Kennedy, ROBINVALE

Wangi Withinu Ngauwingi Walwa

Lisa Kennedy, YANAKIE (two works)
Moinee, the Great Black Star Spirit
Noila Canara, Beautiful Singer

Kent Morris, ST KILDA (two works)
Cultural Reflections – Always on Country #2
Cultural Reflections – Always on Country #3

Kelly Koumalatsos, QUEENSCLIF (two works)
Illumination Portrait of Yarrun Papur Tarneen of Marnoo and Kaawirn Kuunawain ( Hissing Swan ) of the Kirra Wurrong of the Western District
Possum Fur Print

Jennifer Murray-Jones, WINCHELSEA (two works)
Yanga Station

Glenda Nicholls, EAST MACKAY (born in SWAN HILL)
A Woman’s Rite of Passage

John Patten, SUNBURY
Jugun II (Country II)

Pitcha Makin Fellaz, BALLARAT
The Pitcha Makin Fellaz are Ted Laxton, Myles Walsh, Adrian Rigney, Peter-Shane Rotumah, William Blackall, and Thomas Marks. Barmah Cull

A Shameful history

James Tylor, ADELAIDE (born in MILDURA) (two works)
(Erased Scenes) From an Untouched Landscape #5
(Erased Scenes) From an Untouched Landscape #8

Peter Waples-Crowe, WEST MELBOURNE (two works)
My Dingo Spirit, SOS: They kill my Kin(d)
What’s Up with Waa

Arika Waulu, MELBOURNE
Protest Baby

Lisa Waup, WHEELERS HILL (three works)
Connecting to Country
Keeping Place
Where the Water Meets the Land

Lucy Williams-Connelly, SWAN HILL (two works)
[untitled #1]
[untitled #2]





Deadly Art Award – $30,000
Supported by Creative Victoria

Creative Victoria People’s Choice Award – $5,000
Supported by Creative Victoria

Victorian Indigenous Art Award For Works On Paper – $5,000
Highly Commended – $1,500
Supported by Art Gallery Ballarat
Victorian Indigenous Art Award For Three Dimensional Works – $5,000
Highly Commended – $1,500
Supported by Art Gallery Ballarat
Australian Catholic University Acquisitive Award $5,000
Federation University Australia Acquisitive Award – $5,000

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