It’s National Youth Week, and Indigenous Australian youth are invited to submit their art to the 2016 MAX National Indigenous Art Competition.
The competition features an 18-25 youth category and gives Indigenous artists a platform to pursue a career in fine art. In fact, 2015 youth winner Jyi Lawton used the competition to catapult himself into the arts scene in South East and Central Queensland with his winning entry ‘Didgeriwho?’ Since then, Mr. Lawton’s work has been featured in another public exhibition and he’s participated in a live art show in Brisbane.
“The art competition was an awesome opportunity to display my work and the stories behind it in a public forum, especially as an emerging First Nations artist,”
Mr. Lawton said.
He explained that art can be a powerful way of highlighting issues facing Indigenous Australian communities, saying “competitions like these are a great way to share stories, from traditional dreamtime stories and creation, to raising awareness of modern day issues,"
the Bidjara and Gangulu artist said.
“The highlight for me last year was being able to connect with other emerging Indigenous artists to network and share ideas. Story telling has been a way of sharing stories in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture for thousands of years.”
In 2016, finalists will have the chance to connect with 2015 National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Artist of the Year Daren Dunn and NSW Aboriginal Affairs Minister Leslie Williams, who have both offered their support for the competition and finalists’ exhibition in June.
Mr. Lawton says this kind of support for Indigenous youth is vital, and is a great advocate for using art as a way to communicate with and support troubled Indigenous teens.
“I have donated numerous pieces of commissioned work for Not for Profit organisations including (Ipswich suicide prevention charity) Break the Cycle. I’ve also run some art workshops with Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, Reiby Youth Detention Centre in Sydney, and for Cunnamulla students that are part of (Queensland University of Technology Indigenous initiative) Project Imba.
“Art has been used as a means of storytelling for thousands of years. Initiatives like this are important to promote awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in the wider community,”
Mr. Lawton said.
Submissions for the 2016 MAX National Indigenous Competition are open now until April 25. For more information or to submit your artwork, please visit maxsolutions.com.au/artcomp.