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Gab Titui Cultural Centre Celebrates Ten Years of the Indigenous Art Award

The Gab Titui Cultural Centre has celebrated 10 years of its Indigenous Art Award, opening the 2017 exhibition on 8 June.

Nancy Kiwat was named winner of the milestone Award for Monument at ‘Kemus Cove’ Erub, a large scale, ghost net replica of the monument commemorating the arrival of the first missionaries on Erub in 1871.

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) Chairperson, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen AM, congratulated Mrs Kiwat, who also took out the major prize in both 2015 and 2016 as the first female Indigenous Art Award winner.

“Nancy’s achievement here at the Gab Titui Indigenous Art Award is nothing short of outstanding,” Mr Stephen said.

2017 Gab Titui Indigenous Art Award judge, Mr Tony Ellwood, Director of the National Gallery of Victoria, described Mrs Kiwat’s work as unlike any he had previously seen produced in the Torres Strait.

“Nancy’s work is original, confident, and technically very impressive,” Mr Ellwood said.

For ten years, Gab Titui has welcomed curators from across the nation to independently judge the Award, assisted by the valuable contribution of local Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal cultural advisors.

Mr Stephen said we have been privileged to welcome expert judges from around the country, supported by our own cultural elders, and we are proud to present an Award in which artistic merit is enriched by cultural insight.

Since 2008 the Award has been distinct in its dedication to the cultures and visual traditions of the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area, offering audiences glimpses into the contemporary and traditional art unique to each community in the region.

“From intricate lino cut prints and woodwork, to spectacular ceramic and ghost net creations, the Award has reflected and recorded the development of art practice in communities over the past ten years,” Mr Stephen said.

“It has become a cornerstone of Gab Titui’s exhibition programme, giving audiences exclusive access to new works by some of our region’s most acclaimed artists, illuminating exciting young and emerging talent and supporting artists as they discover new and inventive ways to tell and retell their stories.”

On behalf of the TSRA, Mr Stephen thanked the 284 artists who have contributed over 500 entries in this time.

“On the tenth anniversary of the Award, we celebrate our growing art industry and the individual artists and art centres who contribute to its success through their hard work, innovation and generosity of spirit,” Mr Stephen said.

Other category winners were announced as:

Maria Ware (Moa Art), Runner Up, for her ghost net work, Kai Kai Basket;

Segar Passi (Mer), Best 2D Work, for his painting, Dopem and the Mosquitoes;

Emma Gela (Erub Arts), Best 3D Work, for her ghost net work, Bugam;

Yessie Mosby (Masig), Best Cultural Artefact, for his mask, Lagau Mawa;

Angela Torenbeek (St Paul’s Community, Moa), for her weaving, Grass Basket;

Linda Whap (Mabuyag), for her painting (untitled).

The National Museum of Australia (NMA) History Through Art Award sponsored by the NMA since 2011, and the inaugural NMA History Through Art Award – Secondary School Work recognise works that best capture aspects of the histories of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal lives and experiences. These were awarded to Matilda Loban (Badhu, Waiben, Poruma) and Danniel Gagai (Badhu) respectively for their works Ngulayg Lumayk and Untitled.

The Gab Titui Indigenous Art Award is on display in Gab Titui’s Wabunaw Geth Gallery until 28 July 2017. Visitors to the exhibition can vote for their favourite artwork in the 2017 People’s Choice Award until 15 July 2017.

Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people are advised this website may contain names, images and recordings of people who have passed.