Shepparton Art Museum’s 2022 Indigenous Ceramics Award winners announced

Pitjantjatjara artist Anne Nginyangka Thompson takes out top prize for a second time.

Words: Charlotte Middleton

Anne Nginyangka Thompson has been awarded the Major $20,000 Acquisitive Prize in Shepparton Art Museum’s 2022 Indigenous Ceramics Award. The South-East Australian Aboriginal Artist Prize of $5,000 was meanwhile awarded to Gamilaroi artist Sean Miller. Both artists have previously been ICA finalists, with Nginyangka Thompson taking out the top prize in 2014.

Based at Ernabella Arts in the Pukatja Community (Musgrave Ranges, South Australia), Nginyangka Thompson began her ceramic practice during high school, and it has since developed into a meditation on her love for nature.

Her winning entry Strong Family Connection is an elongated stoneware vase with several vignettes etched into its surface. Reminiscent of traditional blue willow fine china patterns, the work reflects Nginyangka Thompson’s deep appreciation of nature and will be acquired into the SAM collection at the close of the 2022 ICA exhibition.

Miller’s entry Galibaay on Country is a large ceramic vessel adorned with a wooden snake winding its way around the neck of the vessel. The vessel features an etched chevron pattern – a common motif in the artist’s work.

The judging panel this year consisted of K/Gamilaroi artist Penny Evans, artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, and Senior Curator of South Eastern Aboriginal Collections at Museums Victoria Kimberley Moulton.

“Anne’s work was visually, aesthetically, and technically resolved, with a remarkable complexity in its depiction of the mapping and connection to country,” commented the judges. “It held an energy that captivated each of us.”

“Sean’s work had presence, and the depth of the carving impressed us,” they continued. “As an artist, Sean is confident and has sound knowledge in materiality. The work has a playfulness to it and was a strong reflection of the iconography of his country.”

Now in its seventh iteration, the 2022 ICA attracted submissions from across Australia. Running until 4 December 2022, the exhibition features 19 finalist works from 26 contemporary artists, representing 16 language groups.

Voting for the 2022 ICA People’s Choice Award will continue until the close of the exhibition and announcement of the award winner will take place soon after vote counting has been completed. The winner of the People’s Choice Award will take home $1,500 in prize money.

Full list of 2022 ICA finalists:

Anne Nginyangka Thompson, Pitjantjatjara (SA) – WINNER, Major Acquisitive Prize ($20,000)

Sean Miller, Gamilaroi (NSW) – WINNER, South-East Australian Aboriginal Artist Award ($5,000)

ICA 2022 Finalists: Alfred Lowe (Arrernte; NT), Alison Milyika Carroll (Pitjantjatjara; SA), Bankstown Koori Elders Group (NSW), Lorna Morgan (Waka-Waka, Darumbal; QLD), Lillian Johnson (Waka-Waka, Gubbi Gubbi; QLD), Gloria Peronchik (Waka-Waka Gangulu; QLD), Beverley Gilmartin (Wiradjuri; NSW), Victoria Woods (Wiradjuri; NSW), Margaret Foat (Buandik; SA), Lola Simmons (Wailwan; NSW), John Simmons (NSW), Beth Inkamala Mbitjana (Western Aranda; NT), Billy Bain (Darug; NSW), Carlene Thompson (Pitjantjatjara; SA), Debbie Taylor-Worley (Gamilaraay/Gomeroi; NSW), Elisa Jane Carmichael(Ngugi; QLD), Elizabeth Dunn (Pitjantjatjara; SA), Hayley Coulthard Panangka (Western Aranda; NT), Jock Puautjimi (Tiwi; NT), Megan Croydon (Kuku Yalanji; QLD), Philip Denham (Girramay; QLD), Philomena Yeatman (Gunggandji; QLD), Rupert Jack (Pitjantjatjara; SA), Tjunkaya Tapaya OAM (Pitjantjatjara; SA), Vivian Pingkayi Thompson (Pitjantjatjara; SA).

This article was posted 10 October 2022.

Image: 2022 Indigenous Ceramic Award, winner Major Acquisitive Prize Anne Nginyangka Thompson, ‘Strong Family Connection’, Shepparton Art Museum, 2022. Photo: Serana Hunt-Hughes.

Featured thumbnail image: L-R: Sean Miller (winner South-East Australian Aboriginal Artist Prize), Melinda Martin (SAM CEO), Anne Nginyangka Thompson (winner Major Acquisitive Prize). Shepparton Art Museum, 2022. Photo: Serana Hunt-Hughes. 

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