THE HUNT is on for Ballarat’s next Indigenous art prodigy.
With entries for the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award opening next Tuesday, last year’s winner is encouraging local Indigenous people to apply.
Napoleons’ Josh Muir, 24, won last year’s award after spending his youth struggling with mental health issues, homelessness and drug abuse.
Now the talented artist has won a host of awards and commissions, including being commissioned for this weekend’s White Night festival in Melbourne.
His colourful street art, which explores Indigenous issues, will be emblazoned across the National Gallery of Victoria.
Muir is actively encouraging other young Indigenous artists to enter this year’s award in the hope of discovering the next upcoming Indigenous artist from the Ballarat community.
He said there were “quite a few” other talented Indigenous artists in Ballarat who should apply for the awards.
“I think it’s really important for progression in an Indigenous artist’s career to take that next step,” he said.
However, Muir said that often in Indigenous communities, people weren’t aware of how to apply for awards.
“A lot of people don’t know how to put an entry in, so education about these things is essential and getting it out among communities,” he said.
“(The question is) how do we get it out among the communities so our voices can also be heard and shown to the greater arts community in Australia?”
The award is hosted by The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, and offers six awards between $5000 and $50,000, recognising the contributions made by Indigenous artists from regional and urban Australia, in both traditional and contemporary media.
Last year, Muir won $5000 for his digital piece Buninyong, which depicted the history of the township. The piece has since been acquired by the gallery.
Following his win, he has received the Hutchinson fellowship, a $45,000 artist residency at the Victorian College of Arts, and is represented by MARS Gallery.
To enter from February 23, visit www.magnt.net.au
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