Noongar art celebrated

Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times
Rohin Kickett, Katanning Elders Group representative Wendy Jean Hayden and Maitland Hill.
Camera IconRohin Kickett, Katanning Elders Group representative Wendy Jean Hayden and Maitland Hill. Credit: Picture: Jackson Barrett., Jackson Barrett. Picture:

Bunbury Regional Art Gallery hosted its annual Noongar Country Awards Ceremony on Friday night with the theme Your mark, your story: always was, always will be.

Gallery director Joanne Baitz said the exhibition celebrated the contribution of the Noongar people to Australian art and culture.

“The theme acknowledges the importance of the culture and stories of this unique group of people who occupy the South West of Western Australia,” Ms Baitz said. “It is always through the sharing of stories that we connect with one another; it is through our stories that we learn to navigate uncertain times, understand and celebrate our past, our present and our future.”

Winners of the 2020 Noongar Country Exhibition were announced on Friday night with Armadale resident Rohin Kickett taking home $7500 for the Acquisitive Prize sponsored by Alcoa and City of Bunbury for his piece Prohibited Area 2019.

“I created a painting using riffles and water balloons to represent the impact the government policies have had,” Mr Kickett said.

“The water balloons represented my culture, language and livelihood and the spray on the canvas represented all of the issues in my community.”

Maitland Hill and Katanning Elders Group both received highly commended awards and a $1000 prize while Starsan-Rose Slater won the people’s choice award and $500.

“My artwork, Estuary Dreaming, was inspired by my deep connection to country and celebratesthe old people who are buried in the sand dunes across the estuary water,” Mr Hill said.

“It celebrates the memory of my Grandfather Charles Hill aka the King of Burekup, and his descendants including my Father, Uncles, Aunties and cousins.

“The meaning behind the artwork is that this is Noongar Country and we have always been here and we will always be here.

“The estuary holds many dear memories of my Mother and Aunties calling out to kids, when I walk on the land I can see and hear all of my people past and present, and I feel their connection to me.”

Ms Baitz said the Noongar Country Exhibition is an opportunity for artists to be included in the City of Bunbury Art Collection.

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