Yunkurra Billy Atkins wins the 2017 Hedland Art Awards with Kumpupirntily

Presented by FORM and the Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery, the Hedland Art Awards is one of the most prestigious awards in Western Australia, providing regional artists exposure to a national audience and giving new and upcoming artists opportunities to develop their work.

This year artists from the Pilbara, Kimberley, Gascoyne, Mid West and Goldfields-Esperance regions were in the running for over $100,000 in prizes.

Judges Emilia Galatis, Tarryn Gill and Dr Ric Spencer were given the difficult task of selecting just eight winners from 87 finalists. Overall, the winners were selected based on demonstrating strong ability and diverse technique across multiple mediums.

2017 Hedland Art Awards Most Outstanding Work – Billy Atkins (Yunkurra), Kumpupirntily, 2017. Photograph: Bewley Shaylor, 2017

Martu artist Yunkurra Billy Atkins was named the winner of the Most Outstanding Work category, receiving the $30,000 cash prize for his painting entitled Kumpupirntily, which judges described as “a wonderful contemporary political work with subterranean and intangible elements within an Australian landscape, as intimately known by original custodians of this land.”

Additional winners included Doreen Chapman’s emotive, experimental work Untitled (Mona Lisa) for the $10,000 Kathy Donnelly Award which the judges labelled as “wild, soft, sad and intuitive”. While Gloria’s untitled, won the $20,000 Best Artwork by an Indigenous Artist, chosen for its beauty and confidence; “An energetic, bold, vibrant work full of energy, a commitment to the brush and mark making.”

2017 Hedland Art Awards Kathy Donnelly Award – Doreen Chapman, Untitled (Mona Lisa)

The winner of the $20,000 Best Artwork by a non-Indigenous Artist was Clare Peake for Intermediate Pots, selected for her “fantastic selection of designed objects illustrating the joyousness of the everyday… The combination of ceramic object and design works beautifully”, said the judges.

Best Work in a Medium other than Painting was awarded to Nyapuru (William) Gardiner for Drifter while Sebastian Arrow’s Jalinyi received the Best Sculptural Work, Layne Dhu-Dickie’s Captain Hedland’s Day Off the Youth Award, and Nola Campbell’s Ngikin Ngikin the Encouragement Award with the winner of the People’s Choice Award to be announced in January 2018.

The 2017 Hedland Art Awards festivities continue until December with the Public Program including creative workshops, events and business development seminars. All winning and finalist works are on display at the Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery until January 2018.