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Indigenous artist Yunkurra Billy Atkins has been awarded $30,000 for the Most Outstanding Work in the 2017 Hedland Art Awards for his large scale-work on paper work, Kumpupirntily, which combines political commentary with the Australian landscape.

The Hedland Art Awards showcase a range of Indigenous and non-indigenous art practise in regional Western Australia. This year the eight awards were judged by Indigenous curator and writer Emilia Galatis, artist Tarryn Gill, and curator and writer Dr Ric Spencer. 

“Yunkurra Billy Atkins is a knowledgable senior Martu man. His winning piece depicts Kumpupirntily (Lake Disappointment), situated along the Canning Stock Route,” said FORM regional curator Kate Mullen.

“This is a site that holds great significance for the artist, where cannibal beings are said to live under the surface of the lake. Billy is warning people not to disturb these beings in his award winning painting, a story beautifully articulated in gouache.”

Layne Dhu-Dickie, a 13-year-old local boy, won the Youth Award for Captain Hedland’s Day Off featuring the character Captain Hedland from his ongoing series, while Doreen Chapman won the Kathy Donnelly Award for her Indigenous rendering of the Mona Lisa. Gloria won Best Work by an Indigenous Artist for an untitled work that the judges described as, “An energetic, bold, vibrant work full of energy, a commitment to the brush and mark making.”

Further winners are: Clare Peake who won Best Work by a Non-indigenous Artist for Intermediate Pots, Sebastian Arrow for Best Sculptural award for Jalinyi, Nola Campbell who won the Encouragement Award for Ngikin Ngikin, and Nyaparu William Gardiner who won Best Work in a Medium other than Painting for Drifter. 

Works by all the winners and finalists can be seen at the Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery until January 2018.

2017 Hedland Art Awards
The Courthouse Gallery
6 October – January 2018

Zara Sigglekow