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CIAF Art Award Winners 2022

[by Pip Miller]


Philomena Yeatman Bicornual Basket 1 3D Design, Sculpture and Installation Award Winner. Image: supplied

The honour role of Queensland’s outstanding Indigenous artists and organisations were recognised among peers at Cairns Indigenous Art Fair’s (CIAF) opening party held at Cairns Convention Centre.


Sharing in a prize cache of $50,000 the winners of CIAF Art Awards 2022 were selected by an esteemed judging panel comprising José Roca, Artistic Director, 23rd Biennale of Sydney, Katina Davidson, Curator, Indigenous Australian Art, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art and Gerry Turpin, Senior Ethnobotanist, Australian Tropical Herbarium, Tropical Indigenous Ethnobotany Centre.

CIAF’s Artistic Director Janina Harding said in terms of execution and cultural significance in context to this year’s theme, Masters of Country, the judges were overwhelmed and
impressed by the quality and diversity of work of artwork on show and faced the difficult task of choosing the most outstanding works.

The judges remarked on the powerful response to the theme which celebrates
Queensland’s First Peoples’ knowledge and resourcefulness of Indigenous plants and

“Queensland’s First Peoples have an innate connection and expert knowledge of
plants and trees along with oral stories and lived experiences derived from the many
trees on Country. Trees are our history books and a testament to our resourcefulness
as First Peoples,” Ms Harding said.

On behalf of the Premier, Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch announced that the
winner of the Queensland Government’s prestigious Premier’s Award for Excellence
is Pormpuraaw artist, Katherine Ngallametta who will receive $15,000 to support the
continued development of her art practice.

“The Queensland Government is proud to again sponsor the Premier’s Award for
Excellence at the annual Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) Awards,” the Premier said.

“The award recognises the most outstanding work at the fair and I congratulate this
year’s 2022 winner, Katherine Ngallametta, on Land Centre, 2022, a poignant
response to this year’s theme – Masters of Country.

“The Queensland Government is committed to investing in the development of First
Nations artists, which is we’ve supported this important award since 2017.

“The timing of CIAF is perfectly timed as we also observe NAIDOC Week this week,
an important event as we continue on our Path to Treaty journey towards

This year’s Awards’ judging panel remarked on the patterns and ripples featured on
the artwork that evoke abstract images of the layers of the earth, rings of a tree and
the life forces of Country, with the artist, Katherine Ngallametta at its core.


“It is a subtle yet incredibly strong depiction of her connection to Country,” they said.
Winner of Cairns Regional Council’s 2022 Art Centre Award is Badu Art Centre for
utilising the natural resources of earth pigments and bloodwood sap, among others,
in a new body of work that demonstrates variety and information such as cultural
knowledge and climate change concerns in line with the Masters of Country theme.
Special mention goes to Moa Arts and Girringun Art Centre for their engagement
with the theme and new directions of enquiry.

CIAF’s 2022 winner of Ports North’s 3D Design, Sculpture and Installation category
was presented to Philomena Yeatman for her Bicornual Basket 1, 2022. The artist
used a combination of plant fibres and clay, both ancient materials, to display
knowledge of Country. Special mention to Dennis Michael for his fighting shields and
Jillian Holyroyd’s mudcrab.

The judging panel remarked on the striking painting in which the artist creates a
vignette within a broad field of colour in awarding the winner of the 2022 Innovation
Award presented by Holding Redlich to Tania Major for Dragon Flys Everywhere:
Coming Into The Dry Season, 2022. The panel commended Major’s new visual language developed in line with her knowledge of seasonal changes. Special mention to Toby Cedar and his sculptures which include an audio-visual experience and the judges recommend each visitor takes time to see his work come to life.

Finally, the winner of BDO’s Emerging category is Sonya Creek for her work, Milli &
Yunga, 2022. The artist was chosen for the delicate use of earth pigments on linen
depicting her totem, the Mili (Stinging Tree Dendrocnide moroides) and Yunga
(Green Ant). The composition which features figurative depictions of the plant and
tracks left by green ants offer an insightful story of the artist’s connection of Country
and bush medicine teachings of her grandparents, generously shared in her artist
statement. The judges congratulated all emerging artists, including newcomers, and
encouraged them to keep up the great work.

CIAF Art Awards 2022 category winners are:
Premier’s Award for Excellence sponsored by Queensland Government ($15,000)
Katherine Ngallametta
Cairns Regional Council’s Art Centre Award ($10,000)
Badu Art Centre
Ports North’s 3D, Sculpture & Installation Award ($5000)
Philomena Yeatman
Holding Redlich’s Innovation Award ($10,000)
Tania Major
BDO Emerging Artist Award ($5000)
Sonya Creek


The Peoples’ Choice 2022 Award sponsored by Fibre Optics NQ ($5000) will be
determined by visitors to CIAF; the artist whose artwork receives most votes will be
awarded on Sunday 10 July at the closing ceremony from 1pm.

The CIAF Art Fair and Art Market at Cairns Convention Centre officially opens today
from 9 am and can be enjoyed, free of charge, until the event closes at 3pm on
Sunday 10 July.


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