• arts & culture
  • aboriginal

1 January 2016

Artist Glenda Nicholls has taken out Victoria's richest Indigenous art prize the Deadly Art Award at the 2015 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards for her life-size woven sculptural work, A Woman's Rite of Passage.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley was at Art Gallery of Ballarat tonight where he named Glenda the winner of the $30,000 prize, selected from a field  of 41 finalist works. 

Described by the judges as 'deeply spiritual', the award-winning sculptures take the form of three woven cloaks created to represent Aboriginal women and the role they play in Welcome to Country ceremonies. Originally from Swan Hill, Glenda was taught to weave by her mother and grandmother. Now a grandmother herself living in Queensland, she is committed to passing on her skills and knowledge to the next generation.

Other award winners on the night included Peter Waples-Crowe of West Melbourne, Troy Firebrace of Long Gully, and Brendan Kennedy of Robinvale. Doncaster East artist and art teacher Raymond Young, who won the Award for Three Dimensional Works, first came to art as part of an Indigenous Arts in Prisons community program which inspired him to make art that connected him to his culture. 

Celebrating their 10th anniversary in 2015, the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards were established by the Victorian Government in 2005 to raise the profile and recognition of South East Australian Aboriginal art and to provide career development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists throughout Victoria.

The 2015 finalists' exhibition, hosted by Art Gallery of Ballarat, showcase stunning traditional practice alongside high end contemporary art. The free exhibition, and associated programs of artist talks, runs until 20 September. 

Members of the public  can now vote  for their favourite work as part of the $5,000 Creative Victoria People's Choice Award.


Deadly Art Award
Supported by Creative Victoria
Winner: $30,000 – Glenda Nicholls A Woman's Rite of Passage

Victorian Indigenous Art Award for Three Dimensional WorksSupported by Creative Victoria and Art Gallery of Ballarat
Winner: $5,000 – Raymond Young From the Ground UpHighly Commended: $1,500 – Paola Balla Sticks and Stones

Victorian Indigenous Art Award for Works on PaperSupported by Creative Victoria and Art Gallery of Ballarat
Winner: $5,000 – Peter Waples-Crowe My Dingo Spirit, SOS: They Kill My Kin(d)Highly Commended: $1,500 – Kent Morris Cultural Reflections #2
Federation University Acquisitive Award for Work by a Victorian Regional Artist
$5,000 – Troy Firebrace A Galaxy Swirl

Australian Catholic University Acquisitive Award for Work Based on Spirituality and Cultural Tradition
$5,000 – Brendan Kennedy Wangi Withinu Ngauwingi Walwa