Artists fi­nal­ists in pres­ti­gious prize

Broome Advertiser - - HAPPENINGS - Peter de Krui­jff

Kimberley painters Phyllis Thomas, from War­mun Arts, and So­nia Ku­rarra, from Mangkaja Arts, were two of the artists cho­sen as fi­nal­ists for one of the old­est art prizes in Aus­tralia re­cently.

The women were named among 46 fi­nal­ists out of 695 en­tries to the Wynne Prize, for land­scape art, in Syd­ney, which started in 1897.

About 20 of this year’s fi­nal­ists are Abo­rig­i­nal, in­clud­ing Thomas and Ku­rarra.

Un­for­tu­nately, nei­ther artist man­aged to win the top gong, which nets the win­ner $50,000, or the ac­com­pa­ny­ing Roberts Fam­ily Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der Prize, for which they were also el­i­gi­ble.

The Wynne was won by Yukultji Na­pan­gati, from the East Pil­bara com­mu­nity of Ki­wirrkurra, for a work which de­picted a rock hole among sand­hills.

Thomas, who started paint­ing as part of the Jir­rawun art move­ment in 1998, sub­mit­ted an ochre paint­ing com­bin­ing a story from the Stolen Gen­er­a­tion with land­scapes. The paint­ing, My Stolen Sis­ters From Gija Coun­try, tells the tale of how two young Gija girls, a sis­ter and a cousin-sis­ter of Thomas, were taken away from their home to Moola Bulla Sta­tion and then to Oom­bul­gurri, which is shown in the top sec­tion of the im­age.

It was in Oom­bul­gurri where the girls would grow into women and start their own fam­i­lies.

Ku­rarra, who grew up on river coun­try in Noonkan­bah, loves to paint about wa­ter­ways and bar­ra­mundi.

Her acrylic paint­ing, Mar­tuwarra is no ex­cep­tion as a lively im­age of the Fitzroy River.

Hun­gary-born New South Wales wa­ter­colourist Bela Ivanyi was also a fi­nal­ist for his pic­ture of the Kimberley’s El Que­stro re­gion. “On this oc­ca­sion, I stayed at Emma Gorge — a sta­tion at El Que­stro, a prop­erty of nearly a mil­lion acres — and painted two sun­rises fea­tur­ing boab trees with the mar­vel­lous Cock­burn Ranges in the back­ground,” he said.

“This prompted me to paint a group of boabs near Emma Gorge camp, in wa­ter­colour, with the ever-present Cock­burn Ranges em­brac­ing them.”

Pic­tures: AGNSW

Boab at El Que­stro by Bela Ivanyi.

Pic­ture: War­mun Art

Gija painter Phyllis Thomas from War­mun.

Mar­tuwarra by So­nia Ku­rarra.

Part of My Stolen Sis­ters From Gija Coun­try by Phyllis Thomas.

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