Deputy Chair of RDANI, Herman Beyersdorf; The New England North West region’s Aboriginal Customer Service Officer for Fair Trading, Brett Cunningham; Armidale Fair Trading Centre Manager, Sally-Anne Burrow; and Open Indigenous Award winner, Nicholas Levy with his artwork.
On Wednesday, the third annual NSW Office of Fair Trading New England NAIDOC Week Art competition showed continued growth and importance. A well attended award presentation in the foyer of Armidale’s Town Hall demonstrated just how much Aboriginal art means to both Aboriginal and non-indigenous community members.
The New England North West region’s Aboriginal Customer Service Officer for Fair Trading, Brett Cunningham organised the local Aboriginal art competition. “We had strong entries from Uralla to Glen Innes, west to Inverell and throughout the Armidale area. Artists ranged in age from five to over 50. It is continuing to grow in leaps and bounds,” he said.
The awards again attracted support from local organisations, including Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI); Armidale Dumaresq Council and its Gayinyaga Aboriginal Committee; the NSW Police New England Local Area Command; Housing NSW; Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation in Armidale; the New England Art Society Inc.; Indigenous Business Australia; and the UNE’s Oorala Aboriginal Centre.
Deputy Chair of RDANI, Herman Beyersdorf, said the Aboriginal art competition contributes to regional development. “It was clearly worthy of our support because it is regional and we support the economic and social development of the region. It delivers cultural benefits, encouraging Aboriginal participation in local art scenes and pride in Aboriginal art, for Aboriginal and non-Indigenous people. We saw artists of all ages put a lot of effort into some great Aboriginal themed artworks and prize winners appreciated the public recognition,” he said.
The Open Indigenous Award (work by an Indigenous artist) went to Armidale’s Nicholas Levy. It was the second consecutive year that the promising local artist took out the major award, yet his two winning artworks have been vastly different. “My artwork was based on the theme for NAIDOC Week 2010, “Unsung Heroes – Closing the Gap by Leading Their Way. Into my painting, I put quotations and different sayings that reflect what the theme means to me. I also incorporated old, traditional styles of Aboriginal art.”
Aboriginal art is more than culturally significant to Nicholas Levy. “Painting has been in my spirit ever since I was little. I’ve always drawn and always painted, or tried to. I’ve developed it over the years. It means a lot to me. It’s part of my culture. It keeps me strong, in myself. I paint so other people can enjoy it as well,” he said.
Brett Cunningham surmised that the art competition is an ideal way to celebrate NAIDOC Week. “It is also an opportunity to provide information about the services Fair Trading offers, and our Aboriginal Action Plan in particular,” he said.
Tiffany Lowe of Armidale, who won the Indigenous Youth Category (12-18 years), with “A Hero”.
Guyra artist, Brian Irving with Open Non-Indigenous Award winner, Rod J. McPherson and his artwork “Autumn Bright”
Ashlee Flello and Dallas Woodcock of Ross Hill Primary School in Inverell were proud to be recognised for their Aboriginal art efforts
Fair Trading’s Brett Cunningham, the UNE’s Oorala Aboriginal Centre’s Colin Ahoy and RDANI Project Officer, Kim-Trieste Hastings with a sculpture entry.
Indigenous Youth Category Winner, Tiffany Lowe and Co-ordinator of Aboriginal Programs with the Officer of Fair Trading, Jill Jessop
The winners were:
Open Indigenous Category (sponsored by Fair Trading) – Nicholas Levy (Armidale), for “Yes I can be”.
School Project Category (sponsored by Gayinyaga Aboriginal Committee of Armidale Dumaresq Council – Armidale City Public School, Year 5, for “Square Signs”.
Collaboration Category (sponsored by Oorala Aboriginal Centre, UNE) – Meghann Edwards-Baker and Phebe Turner from Ross Hill Public School, Inverell, for “No longer fenced in”
Indigenous Children’s Category, 5-11 years (sponsored by Housing NSW) – Jessica Loftus from Ross Hill Public School, Inverell, for “Working together”
Indigenous Youth Category, 12-18 years (sponsored by the New England Art Society) – Tiffany Lowe of Armidale, for “A Hero”
Open Non-indigenous Category (sponsored by Fair Trading) – Rod McPherson, for “Autumn Bright”
Fair Trading’s Brett Cunningham and the UNE’s Oorala Aboriginal Centre’s Colin Ahoy with a sculpture entry.
Guyra artist, Brian Irving with Open Non-Indigenous Award winner, Rod J. McPherson and his artwork “Autumn Bright”.
For further information please contact:
Brett Cunningham, Fair Trading’s New England Aboriginal Customer Service Officer: 02 6761 9003 or 0423 844 286
Kim-Trieste Hastings, RDANI Project Officer: 02 6771 2790 or 0427 008 572