Vincent Lingiari Art Award celebrates 40 years of land rights

Posted: Thu, March 17, 2016

David Ross and Philip Watkins hope artists will be inspired by land rights veterans who contributed to the paintings surrounding the Barunga Statement

Desart and the Central Land Council have joined forces to award a lucrative new Aboriginal art prize celebrating this year’s twin land rights anniversaries.

The Vincent Lingiari Art Award marks 40 years since the passage of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (ALRA) and 50 years since the Wave Hill Walk Off.

The $15,000 award celebrates the shared history of land rights and the Aboriginal art movement which evolved at the same time and draw strength from the same sources.

“The land rights struggle and the Aboriginal art movement share the same roots,” said Desart’s Executive Officer Philip Watkins.

“Aboriginal art, as an expression of identity and culture derived from country, is one of the social, cultural and economic success stories to have emerged on Aboriginal land in the last four decades.”

“What better way to celebrate this year’s big land rights anniversaries than to honour the visual artists who best express the history, contemporary relevance and the possibilities land rights offer to coming generations?” said CLC director David Ross.

Mr Ross said art and land rights have both empowered Aboriginal people.

“Central Australian artists and their families have used art works as evidence in numerous land claims,” he said. “Artists have played a major role in the fight for land rights and continue to do so.”

A panel of Aboriginal art industry luminaries will chose the winning art work, to be announced at a the launch of the Our Land - Our Life - Our Future Exhibition at Alice Springs’ Tangentyere Artists Gallery.

The exhibition will be open from the 7 September until the 28 October 2016.

“I am so pleased that judges of the calibre of curator Hetti Perkins, the daughter of the CLC’s first chair Charlie Perkins, have agreed to be involved,” Mr Ross said.

Aboriginal artists and art centres in the CLC region are eligible to enter works on any medium and are encouraged to produce collaborative works.

Desart member centres and individual Aboriginal artists close to the CLC region with strong links to Aboriginal land in that region will also be eligible.

A $2,000 Delegates’ Choice Award will also be up for grabs.

It will be chosen by CLC members at their council meeting at Kalkaringi, leading into the town’s Freedom Day Festival weekend on 20-21 August.

The council meeting and the festival will celebrate 50 years since Vincent Lingiari led Aboriginal station workers and their families off Wave Hill Station in 1966, in a protest against poor wages and conditions.

The Wave Hill Walk Off is one of the key events that led to the passage of ALRA by the Australian Parliament in 1976.

Mr Watkins said the Vincent Lingiari Art Award winner will be invited to talk about their work at this year’s Desert Mob Symposium.

He said the exhibition at Tangentyere Artists Gallery will provide opportunity for Aboriginal art workers to participate in the presentation of the exhibition and grow their practical experience and knowledge in all aspects of curatorial practice”.

17 March 2016
Media contacts: Philip Watkins,, 0403 193 266 and Elke Wiesmann,, 0417 877 579.
An artists’ brief and terms of entry are available from Desart, a not for profit peak industry body for over 40
central Australian Aboriginal art centres, on 8953 4736.