Robert Fielding wins the 2021 Fisher’s Ghost Art Award

Congratulations to Robert Fielding, the winner of the 2021 Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, a $25,000 acquisitive prize, with his work Tjukurpa.

Fielding is the first Aboriginal artist to be awarded the prize in its 59 year history, which in the past has gone to some of Australia’s preeminent artists such as Khaled Sabsabi, Justene Williams, Tina Havelock Stevens and Raquel Ormella. Based in the Mimili Community in the remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, South Australia, Fielding is a contemporary artist of Pakistani, Afghan, Western Arrente and Yankunytjatjara descent.

Robert Fielding, Tjukurpa, synthetic polymer and aerosol paint on linen, 152 x 122cm. Photograph: Document Photography

Fielding’s practice comfortably traverses mediums to explore cultural tensions and community life and pushes the conceptual boundaries in central desert painting.

‘Some truths are so strong and important they shine through the veils and complex systems of sacred storylines. Tjukurpa is the foundation of our culture, the sacredness of our land, and the depth of our knowledge. It flows through every aspect of existence, present in everything we do, everything we are.’

– Robert Fielding

This year’s Fisher’s Ghost Art Award was judged by artist Suzanne Archer, artist Dr Danie Mellor and inaugural Director of Ngununggula, Southern Highlands Regional Gallery, Megan Monte.

Mellor discussed Fielding’s Tjukurpa as ‘a painting that shows innovation in his expansive approach to literally redefining a cultural language. While the title of the work suggests a deeply felt connection by the artist with ancient and continuing traditions of Country and people, its stencilled text and layered symbols are emblematic of contemporary life and a Dreaming being lived now. Fielding is unique among artists whose work inscribes new boundaries of interpretation, and Tjukurpa presents an insightful juxtaposition of form and meaning.’

Full list of winners:

Open Award
Robert Fielding, Tjukurpa

Contemporary Award
Alison Clouston & Boyd, Coalface 4 5 Bimblebox

Traditional Award
Nola Tegel, Late Winter Mt Hunter

Macarthur Award
Bron King, The Crucifixion

Southwest Sydney Award
Joshua Charadia, Peripheral View 79

Macability Award
Oliver Fontany, VHS STACK 1

Aboriginal Art Award
Jazz Money, Crush

Primary Award
Maay M, Halloween
Lucena O’Halloran, The Door to Wonder
Wajiha Razawi, Are we good

Secondary Award
Harrison Assad, Material Portrait of Little Yachty
Benjamin Ballantyne, Animal Skull
Charlotte Berkley, Stacked Stones
Ally Brown, Bilirr

The 2021 Fisher’s Ghost Art Award exhibition can be viewed at Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney, until 10 December 2021.