Footscray Art Prize Winners Announced

Pitjantatjara artist Mumu Mike Williams has become the first winner of the Footscray Art Prize.

Chosen from more than 800 eligible entries, the winner of the $10,000 cash prize, Postbag Painting, has been painted on repurposed Australia Post canvas mailbags.

The artist chose these mailbags – which are Commonwealth property – as his painting surface in a bold statement about ownership and the conflict between Commonwealth law and Anangu lore.

Postbag Painting uses acrylic to paint directly on to the canvas mailbags, as well as kulata (traditionally made spear), Punu (wood), malu pulyku (kangaroo tendon), and kiti (resin from spinifex grass).

Mike Williams grew up around Pukatja and is a traditional ngangkari healer, currently living in the Northern Territory.

FootscrayArtPrize_Mumu Mike Williams_01IMAGE: Mumu Mike Williams, Postbag Painting, 2017


The Prize, currently in its first year, is a unique collaboration between Victoria University, Maribrynong City Council, Footscray Community Arts Centre and the Rotary Club of Footscray and has a total value of $17,500.

The judging panel – made up of Australia’s premier artists and gallery curators including Jason Smith, Director of Geelong Gallery; Beverly Knight, Executive Director Alcaston Gallery; Indigenous artist Reko Rennie; Curator for Incinerator Gallery in Moonee Ponds Richard Ennis; and artist Simon Spain – selected the winner after a full day of judging the 32 shortlisted works spanning photography, video, paintings and sculpture and street art.

Footscray Art Prize exhibition is currently showing at Roslyn Smorgon Gallery and Gabriel Gallery until 24 June.


Footscray Art Prize winner (main prize):
Mumu Mike Williams for Postbag Painting, 2017

Main Prize Commendations:
Minh Phan for Between Sky and Sea, 2015
New Change for Breaking News, 2016

Street Art Prize winner:
Heesco for Miss Citizen of the World, 2017

Tertiary Art Prize winner:
Mohsen Meysami for Their Pain, Our Gain, 2017

Tertiary Art Prize Commendations:
Lara Chamas for Do you know how hard it is to mash a banana with a plastic fork, 2016
Sean McDowell for Instability, 2017

Young Artist winner (13-17 years)
Jaina Zheng for Estranged

Young Artist winner (12 years and under)
Cathy Tran for Decorated Pot

Sponsored by Cheaper Buy Miles, Footscray Plaza and Footscray Rotary, the Prize also comprises categories for street art, with large-scale works found on four walls in Footscray; tertiary students, exhibited at VU at MetroWest until 17 June; and the Young Artists Prize, which was exhibited at the Bluestone Church Arts Space in May.

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