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The Discord of Art: Kimberley Art Awards 2015

The Discord of Art: Kimberley Art Awards 2015
MartuwarraWestern Australia’s longest running regional art award has just celebrated its 45th anniversary. The Shire of Derby West Kimberley Civic Centre was a full house of artists, sponsors and patrons of the arts last Saturday evening as the winners were announced. The 112 entries formed an eclectic catalogue of work that proved too difficult for this year’s judge to pick a single definitive winner. Being an open award, entries had come from across the country.  Most forms of visual art were represented from photo realism to abstract expressionism.  The curator was skilled in her placement of such a varied body of work in a way that everything sat comfortably within the exhibition space. The result was a visual feast for the viewer to stroll through and savour. 

There was something to activate all the senses. Given that Derby is the heart land of the Kimberley Art Awards, Wandjinas made up many of the entries and watched over the awards prominently from the main wall.  Indigenous art forms thousands of years old sat along-side contemporary works from non Indigenous artists. While the collection of work was dramatically diverse they all shared a universal quality. Each of them, when viewed individually, reflected the Kimberley in some way. 

It is very rare that an art award doesn’t court some form of controversy and the 2015 Kimberley Art Awards did not disappoint those who love discord. For the first time in its 45 year history the Judge was unable to choose a clear winner and awarded the acquisitive prize equally to two separate artists. Sonia Kurarra of Fitzroy Crossing’s  painting entitled ‘Martuwarra’ was dramatically different to Broome artist Craig Rochford’s  ‘Flying Change’. Kurarra and Rochford  will share equally in the $10,000 prize. Overall the 2015 Kimberley Art Award served its purpose in show-casing the breadth and depth of talent within the Kimberley visual arts community. 

Originally Published as Local Aesthetic in the Broome Advertiser 14 July 2015

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