Brian Robinson | Winner of the inaugural Collie Art Prize

Cairns-based, Torres Strait Islander artist and former curator Brian Robinson has been announced as the recipient of the inaugural $50,000 Collie Art Prize, which invited artists to respond to the theme of identity.

Robinson’s linocut print, By Virtue of This Act I Hereby Take Possession of This Land, ‘has opened up the theme of identity with a modern, tongue-in-cheek, yet powerful and thought provoking interpretation of European possession of Australia, and conveyed his intention in a clear and concise manner,’ explained Lyn DiCiero, Artist’s Chronicle publisher and one of this year’s Collie Art Prize judges alongside Dr Stefano Carboni, Director of the Art Gallery of WA, and Caroline Lunel, curator from Bunbury Regional Art Galleries.

Judges: Caroline Lunel, Dr Stefano Carboni and Lyn DiCiero. Photograph: Cynthia Dix

With a practice that spans across the areas of painting, printmaking, sculpture and design, Robinson explains in an interview with Ashleigh Wadman for Artist Profile magazine, that ‘I’m not classed as a traditional Indigenous artist: I look at concepts and themes that often remove me from Indigenous arts practice and place my creative output within the contemporary arts realm.’

This is evident in the design of the winning work which depicts an iconic image of Captain James Cook surrounded by Indigenous motifs with the pixelated alien enemy of the popular arcade video game, Space Invaders, lingering overhead in what Carboni describes as ‘a very contemporary take as to the ‘invaders’.’

Brian Robinson. Photograph: Michael Marzik

The acquisitive art award represents one of the most generous in regional Australia alongside two $5000 Collie Rotary Club prizes awarded to artists Alistair Taylor and Sarah Smith for their works Synchronymity (96 Alistair Taylors) and Cotton Candy respectively. While Smith’s work deals with self-image, reflected in the lenses of worn sunglasses, Taylor’s miniature network of portraits is representative of lost identity experienced by the artist on social media in which his own page had disappeared and in an attempt to find it, discovered that there are 96 other Alistair Taylors on Facebook.