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Indigenous Professional Development Award Goes to Arts OutWest Aboriginal Arts Development Officer

Arts Out West Aboriginal Arts Officer, Aleshia Lonsdale, has won the 2015 UNSW Art & Design Indigenous Professional Development Award. The award includes an Artist Residency at UNSW; the opportunity to work with UNSW staff in a medium of choice; a solo exhibition at EPS Gallery, UNSW and up to $500 worth of art materials, travel expenses and per diems. Arts OutWest is the regional arts board for the Central West region of NSW.

Aleshia won for her work Significant to whom for what? The mixed media work uses stone tools, emu feathers, polymer bank notes and a set of scales to “reflect the imbalance in the system which assesses and approves major coal mining developments.”

The prize was awarded  as part of the ceremony for the announcement of the winner of the Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Prize taken out this year by Shevaun Wright. (Pictured below with her work.)

ShevaunWrightwithartwork for website

Shevaun’s piece, Site Specific Work [Suggested Corporate Names – Catholic Child Abuse Compensation Entity] was chosen by judges Stephen Gilchrist, Julie Gough and Liza-Mare Syron.  A practising lawyer and artist, Shevaun said she aims to compare feminist and postcolonial critiques of the law and art as a means to access and reveal similarities in their discursive practices. Site Specific Work uses language to explore discourse around the confronting issue of child sexual abuse.

Shevaun is a previous finalist in the Parliament of New South Wales Aboriginal Art Prize and in 2012 won a postgraduate scholarship with the UNSW Faculty of Arts & Design. Since completing the post-graduate scholarship, she has completed a residency as a fellow of the Art & Law Program in New York and has been selected to participate in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program later this year. This is her first major art prize.

The Parliament of New South Wales Aboriginal Prize is the most valuable art incentive on offer for Aboriginal artists born in or living in New South Wales. Speaking at the opening and prizegiving ceremony, the Hon. Shelley Hancock MP, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, noted the Parliament’s commitment to the Aboriginal community in NSW.

“The Parliament of New South Wales is proud to have supported the growth and development of the Prize and the opportunities it has provided to finalists and winners,” she said. “It has been wonderful to witness the level of recognition for and appreciation of contemporary Aboriginal art by the Parliament and the community,” she said.

The Parliament of New South Wales Aboriginal Art Prize is on display at the NSW Parliament on Sydney’s Macquarie Street, and will be until 2nd November 2015. Entry to the exhibit is FREE, with doors open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Following the exhibit, the works will commence a tour of selected regional galleries in New South Wales.

The Parliament of New South Wales Aboriginal Art Prize is produced and presented through a partnership between the Parliament of New South Wales, Campbelltown City Council, the NSW Government (through Arts NSW) and the UNSW Faculty of Art & Design, University of NSW.

with Arts NSW