Boundary-pushing Indigenous Ceramic Award unveils 2022 finalists

Over 20 Indigenous artists will showcase the different possibilities of ceramics in the 2022 Indigenous Ceramic Award finalists’ exhibition at the Shepparton Art Museum, opening 13 August.
2022 indigenous ceramic award

Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) is set to unveil the 2022 finalists of their Indigenous Ceramic Award (ICA), with artists from the Northern Territory taking the spotlight, as well as those from NSW and QLD.

28 Indigenous artists across 16 Language groups will be presented at the ICA exhibition, the first in its 16-year history to be held in SAM’s new purpose-built museum.

SAM Indigenous Curator Belinda Briggs told ArtsHub that, ‘as well as being an award, [ICA] is also an opportunity to stimulate and inspire new artists and new ideas, and push the boundaries of what we think ceramics are’.

Briggs continued: ‘It’s been a learning journey for me over the past three iterations to understand how to ensure this award celebrates cultural and community pride … Everybody has a different story and ideas that they want to communicate – the participating artists are doing that through clay.’

Included will be emerging talents as well as entries from more senior artists, ‘who present ancient stories, unique perspectives and insights that you have limited opportunity to see anywhere else,’ said Briggs.

Clay presents an opportunity to have a physical, tangible connection to Earth, and also spiritually as well.

Belinda Briggs, SAM Indigenous Curator

The entries present a diverse range of narratives, including those about Country, ceremony, song-lines, kinship, as well as recent events in history and colonialism.

2022 judges were Museums Victoria Senior Curator, Kimberley Moulton, contemporary ceramicist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, and 2018 ICA finalist Penny Evans.

This is the first time that ICA has returned to an open call format since 2014, to ‘engage with a broader and more diverse representation of artists across the country,’ explained Briggs. ‘We’re looking forward to welcoming artists to SAM and Yorta Yorta Country. It will be a great gathering to connect, recognise and celebrate the practice, culture and stories of each of the artists.’

In a change in format, Evans will also be the inaugural ICA feature artist. Evans has been commissioned to create a work to stand alongside the finalists’ works, which will be unveiled at the exhibition.

Briggs said: ‘[Penny] has gone from strength to strength, it’s really exciting to watch her work as there’s always something new. She takes great inspiration from her Country and connections to the Kamilaroi area. Her expressions that come through in the forms are raw, organic in shape and there’s always something new about what she’s doing.’

‘[Penny’s] work is going to have a really strong feminine, matriarchal presence in the SAM exhibition area,’ Briggs added.

‘This new commission enables the ICA to continue to create space for larger bodies of work and demonstrate the values of the award in an expanded way.’

Announcing the 2022 ICA finalists

  • Alfred Lowe, Arrente (NT)
  • Alison Milyika Carroll, Pukatja / Pitjantjatjara (NT)
  • Anne Thompson, Pukatja/ Pitjantjatjara (NT)
  • Bankstown Koori Elders Group (Comprised of artists: Lorna Morgan Waka-Waka, Darumbal (North Queensland), Lillian Johnson Waka-Waka, Gubbi Gubbi (North Queensland), Gloria Peronchik Waka-Waka Gangulu (North Queensland), Beverley Gilmartin Wiradjuri (NSW), Victoria Woods Wiradjuri (NSW), Margaret Foat, Bowenstick (SA), Lola Simmons Wailwan (Central NSW), John Simmons Non Aboriginal)
  • Beth Inkamala Mbitjana, Ntaria Western Aranda (NT)
  • Billy Bain, Darug (NSW)
  • Brook Andrew, Wiradjuri (NSW)
  • Carlene Thompson, Pukatja / Pitjantjatjara (NT)
  • Debbie Taylor – Worley, Gamilaraay/Gomeroi (NSW)
  • Elisa Jane Carmichael, Ngugi (QLD)
  • Elizabeth Dunn, Pukatja / Pitjantjatjara (NT)
  • Hayley Coulthard Panangka, Ntaria Western Aranda (NT)
  • Jock Puautjimi, Tiwi (NT)
  • Megan Croydon, Kuku Yalanji (QLD)
  • Philip Denham, Girramay (QLD)
  • Philomena Yeatman, Gunggandji (QLD)
  • Rupert Jack, Pukatja/ Pitjantjatjara (NT)
  • Sean Miller, Gamilaroi (NSW)
  • Tjunkaya Tapaya OAM, Pukatja/ Pitjantjatjara (NT)
  • Vivian Pingkayi Thompson, Pukatja / Pitjantjatjara (NT)

2022 Indigenous Ceramic Award opens 13 August – 4 December 2022, with the official opening and awards ceremony to be held on 8 October.

Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. Most recently she took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne.