Fresh off her nomination for the 2020 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Bathurst-based Wiradyuri conceptual artist Amala Groom has achieved another fine accolade.
Groom has been named the winner of the 2020 Wyndham Art Prize [worth $12,000] out of nearly 80 entries.
Her winning work, Copywrong, is a statement about the severe lack of entitlements to copyright and Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property for First Peoples cultural materials, reflected in the use of a foreign-made boomerang and acrylic paint mixed with ochre.
"Copywrong talks about how it is not okay for anyone to make and profit from fake Aboriginal art," Groom said.
"Since 2016, there has been a fantastic campaign by the Arts Law of Australia, Copyright Agency and the Indigenous Art Code called 'Fake Art Harms Culture' to raise awareness of the growing presence of inauthentic 'Aboriginal style' art and craft products and merchandise for sale across Australia.
"Earlier this week, legislation to amend the Australia Consumer Law [ACL] and stop 'fake art' was rejected by federal parliament, so I want to use winning this art prize to bring attention to the losses that so many other Aboriginal arts and cultural practitioners face."
It is in this sense that Groom reflects on her Wyndham Art Prize win as both 'thrilling' and 'bittersweet.'
Groom hopes that Copywrong will provide audiences with a greater insight into the cultural infringements First Nations people face for the sake of profit.
"The First Peoples of these many nations now known as Australia are the custodians and caretakers of our cultures, cultures that do not enjoy the same legal protections, freedoms and privileges that multi-national corporations do," she said.
"Our cultures are continuously appropriated at our expense and for the benefit of prescribed national interests and the Australian economy."
With a lot of unpaid hours involved in a career as a professional artist, Groom says of her $12,000 win: "it is always great to have my work recognised in winning awards, grants and receiving institutional commissions."
"Art is not a cheap vocation so the prize money just goes back into the vault of making new art and sustaining my practice."
As part of the prize, Copywrong will be on display at the Wyndham Art Gallery in the outer Melbourne suburb of Werribee until June 28.
The exhibition can be viewed online at www.wyndhamtogether.com.au/event/wyndham-art-prize/.
For more information on Groom's work, visit www.amalagroom.com.