Monday, August 5, 2013

Cape York Art Award 2013

'Garyarr - Crocodile Dance' by Roy Gray. Cape York Art Award overall winner 2013

Roy Gray of Yarrabah has won the major Cape York Art Award at the 2013 Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival for his painting 'Garyarr - Crocodile Dance'. Roy, who is in his sixties, is a member of the Idinji Gimuy Clan in Far North Queensland and a noted authority on the linguistic aspects of the Yidinji language and oral history.

The judges were artist Arone Meeks, sponsor representative Mark Winfield (CEO Pearls Mii Home) and Murri artist Jenny Fraser. Meeks, who is Kuku Midigi and was born in Laura also won an art prize at the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival in 2009. Jenny Fraser said of the winner “Roy Grays work was a standout because it documents dance culture from a story keeper perspective and it also has wider art world references to master works by prolific artists such as Gauguin. Because it is a dance festival we were pleased to see artworks honouring dance as an artform, alongside other totemic and societal themes”.

Proving that the visual arts is still a strong aspect of the Festival, this year the major sponsor of the art award was Pearls MiiHomes, a building solutions company that provided the cash prizes and other support, with Cape York woman Fiona Wirrer-George facilitating the art prize in her role as gallerist. Fiona is a Wik/Wikway, Mbaiwum/Trotj descendent from Aurukun and Weipa who said of the “The Cape York Art Award is a crucial component of the Laura Dance Festival and must be cultivated and nurtured respectfully and appropriately. Our people need an opportunity like this to encourage, motivate, inspire and provide a platform for exposure and business viability. We are predominantly a creative Nation where all genres of the Performing and Visual Art Sectors are part and parcel of our voice as a nation of people.”

'Guthaar – Bush Fire' by Harold Bowen

Guugu Yimithirr artist Harold Bowen, of Hopevale won the $1000 Painting category prize for his work 'Guthaar – Bush Fire' and Mpakwithi woman Agnes Mark of New Mapoon received a $250 Highly Commended prize for her painting 'Brolga Dance'. Harold Bowen commented “I didn't think I would win!! the painting is a stark reminder of how the land repairs itself, and I'm pretty the much in awe of destructive power of the bushfire.”

'Brolga Dance' by Agnes Mark

The $1000 3D category prize went to Wik-Ngathan/Wik-Alkan artist Garry Namponan of Aurukun for his carving titled 'Owl', and the $250 Highly Commended 3D prize went to Simon Norman of Pormpuraaw for his ghost net assemblage titled 'Barramundi'.

'Owl' by Garry Namponan

'Barramundi' by Simon Norman

The Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival is one of Australia’s major and longest-running Indigenous community festivals. It is celebrated on country every two years over the school holidays in June. This years festival was the 20th and was the first time the festival was coordinated by Festival Director and Kuku Yalanji / Waanyi woman Marilyn Miller. “Being asked to help coordinate the LADF 2013 has been a highlight of my return home. It has only been 2 years since I returned and to be involved in such a landmark, and Culturally significant, event provides reward for all the time away having learnt the skills and gaining the experience to run such an event”  said Marilyn Miller.

The Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival is a biennial event celebrating and showcasing the culture of the Aboriginal people of Cape York Peninsula through song, dance ceremony and performance. The practices of Aboriginal dance and culture at the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival is a very important element in the preservation and continuance of the unique culture of the region.

The Dance Festival Ground at Laura is the site of a very old traditional Bora ground and is a respected and sacred site to Aboriginal people. It is nestled amongst some of the oldest and most spectator rock art in the world. Recently the rock art of the area was awarded Queensland Icon status by the National Trust in recognition of its significance to the environmental and cultural landscape.

This year more than 500 performers from the Cape York Peninsula, Kuranda, Yarrabah, Townsville and from as far away as Duchess, south of Mt Isa, came to dance on the sacred ground at Laura and celebrate Aboriginal culture and tradition. The Music program held at night is also highlight of the festival, with performers from all over the country, including Emma Donovan, Deline Briscoe, Troy Brady, Lee ‘Sonnyboy’ Morgan and many local talents.

Known as a meeting ground for the communities of Cape York, the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival is highly regarded by many Aboriginal people as a place where families meet new and old family members, make new acquaintances and exchange and pass on family histories.

Visitors camped in this exceptional community environment during the festival with opportunities to meet and talk to residents who shared their lives. The Festival enables the wider community to witness and gain insight into the uniqueness of Aboriginal culture and witness the storytelling of Aboriginal culture through dance, language and art.

Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival

Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival on facebook