Aboriginal artist Shevaun Wright has been named as winner of the 2015 Parliament of NSW $40,000 Aboriginal Art Prize.
Judges Stephen Gilchrist, Julie Gough and Dr Liza-Mare Syron, selected Wright’s work from the 31 finalists. Site Specific Work [Suggested Corporate Names – Catholic Child Abuse Compensation Entity] is a textual work combining phrases from legal, religious and corporate texts to explore the discourse around child sexual abuse.
As a practising lawyer, Wright is interested in both feminist and postcolonial critiques of the law to reveal similarities in their discursive practices.
She was a previous finalist in 2012 when she was awarded a postgraduate scholarship with the UNSW Art & Design. Since completing the scholarship, Wright has been a fellow of the Art & Law Program in New York and has been selected to participate in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program later this year.
Also announced last night was this year’s UNSW Art & Design Indigenous Professional Development Award which was won by Aleshia Lonsdale. Her mixed media work Significant to whom for what?, addresses the systemic imbalance in the way major coal-mining developments are assessed and approved. The Indigenous Professional Development Award includes a residency at UNSW and a solo exhibition at EPS Gallery as well as art materials and travel expenses.
“Aboriginal artists and arts groups contribute to the cultural richness of our State. They produce high-quality works that combine traditional stories and culture with contemporary art forms and media.”
Norma Ingram, who performed the Welcome to Country, opened proceedings at the Parliament last night to a warm reception. The Hon. Shelley Hancock MP, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly emphasised the Parliament’s commitment to the Aboriginal community in NSW. She said, “It has been wonderful to witness the level of recognition for and appreciation of contemporary Aboriginal art by the Parliament and the community.”
This sentiment was echoed by the Hon. Troy Grant MP, Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts who said, “Aboriginal artists and arts groups contribute to the cultural richness of our State. They produce high-quality works that combine traditional stories and culture with contemporary art forms and media.”
The Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Prize is the most valuable art incentive on offer for Aboriginal artists born in or living in NSW and is an initiative of Campbelltown Arts Centre, is supported by the Campbelltown Council, the NSW Government through Arts NSW, and the UNSW Faculty of Art & Design, University of NSW.
The Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Prize is currently on display at the NSW Parliament on Sydney’s Macquarie Street, and will be until 2nd November 2015. Entry to the exhibit is FREE, with doors open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.