Background Image

Girringun artist in major national art award

Cardwell artist Alison Murray has showcased her talents at the annual National Indigenous Ceramic Art Awards – one of two Queenslanders and seven talented Australian artists to be shortlisted for the prestigious awards.

Alison, from the Girrigun Aboriginal Art Centre, and Cairns-born Janet Fieldhouse were both recognised at the annual awards which celebrates and supports the rich and diverse use of ceramic medium by Indigenous artists.

The judges congratulated all artists and said, “The 2016 (awards) showcased an outstanding calibre of entrants reflecting the sophistication of Indigenous ceramic art practice around the nation.”

Alison created 10 Bagu figurative works which reflected on members of her immediate family.

She travelled to Shepparton with Art Centre Manager Dr Valerie Keenan for the awards ceremony in August, meeting other artists and attending masterclasses and panel sessions.

Alison said her visit was exciting, and opened her eyes to other ways to work with clay.

"I thought the other works would be mostly pots but they were quite different. Some shields on display looked as though they were made from timber and yet they were made with clay,” Alison said.

“Now that I have seen the other works I don't think it will affect the way I work with clay, but it has certainly given me inspiration to continue with my own practice."

Dr Keenan praised Alison’s work saying, “Her attention to detail, understanding of colour balance and pattern making have resulted in a collection of beautifully defined and rendered works, each a masterpiece in itself.”

Janet Fieldhouse describes her work as an expression of her Torres Strait Islander heritage, “the material culture, rituals of social and religious life, and artefacts which are created to fulfil the functional and spiritual needs of the peoples of the Torres Strait.”

Shepparton-based Gallery Kaiela artists Jack Anselmi and Cynthia Hardie took out the 2016 prize with "Midden", a work made of ceramic, raku, porcelain and terracotta.

Alison received support from Arts Queensland’s Backing Indigenous Arts Program, the Shepparton Art Museum and the Ministry for Arts Indigenous Visual Arts Strategy.

The 2016 Indigenous Ceramic Art Awards exhibition runs from 6 August to 25 September at the Shepparton Art Museum.

Alison Murray is a Girramay/Jirrbal Traditional Owner of the Murray Upper area near Cardwell in North Queensland. She has a strong connection to place and heritage, and draws inspiration for her work from traditional stories and the places where she lives and camps.