Words: Erin Irwin
Hadley’s Art Prize, based in Hobart, has announced the winner of this year’s prize is to be Yankunytjatjara artist Vicki Yatjiki Cullinan. Her work Ngayuku Ngura (My Country) has beat out stiff competition to claim the acquisitive prize worth $100,000, one of the richest prizes in Australia.
Cullinan is from the Indulkana Community in South Australia, and has a practice that spans over 20 years, encompassing the mediums of printmaking and drawing. As director and cultural liaison officer at Iwantja Arts, she is not only a remarkable artist, but also a mentor for the emerging artists in her community.
“I paint my Country, the beautiful and powerful Yankunytjatjara Country that I live on and that will always be a part of me”, says the artist, “my painting is connected to the Tjukurpa (Ancestral Stories) that I know, but also my paintings are an extension of who I am, and how I interpret my place in the world.”
The judging panel of this year’s prize included artists Wendy Sharpe AM and Milan Milojevic, as well as artist, writer and Associate Professor at the University of Queensland Dr Fiona Foley. The trio selected Cullinan’s work from among 30 finalists.
Of this year’s winner, the judging panel have stated that “Cullinan’s work knocked us out at first glance and just kept giving. The longer you look at it, the better it gets. The work does not reveal all its secrets at once. Like the Country, it is vibrant and alive. We were all drawn to Cullinan’s work and find it utterly fascinating”. They also had glowing reviews of the other finalists, saying that “this year’s Hadley’s Art Prize is incredibly high-quality and diverse, with entrants from every state and territory. It was a privilege to spend time with each of the artworks and encourage everyone to visit the Finalists’ Exhibition”.
Further awards have been handed out by the prize, including the $10,000 Hadley’s Residency Prize, which was awarded to Melissa Kenihan. Honourable Mentions which were given to Joshua Andree, Patrick Mung Mung, Joan Ross and Denise Brady.
To see Cullinan’s work, as well as that of the other talented finalists, visit the Finalist Exhibition at the Hadley’s Orient Hotel in Hobart, which is open until the 20 August.
This article was posted 26 July 2023.
Image: Artist Vicki Yatjiki Cullinan in her studio. Courtesy: the artist and Hadley’s Art Prize.