UPDATE, May 19, 2012: Alice Prize: a journey through art of 'the time we are in'
Go to FULL STORY for Kieran Finnane's walk through the art with the Alice Prize judge.
The Pintupi artist Yukultji Napangarti – one of the so called Lost Tribe of nine people whose first contact with the outside world was in 1984 – has won the Alice Prize with a hypnotic untitled work that "elevates paint on a surface to something sublime".
So said judge of the prize, Nick Mitzevitch, Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia.
"To me that's what great painting is all about," he said.
This is the 37th Alice Prize, one of Australia's oldest contemporary art prizes, open to artists from around the country. Presented by the Alice Springs Art Foundation it opened tonight at Araluen and will be on display till June 10.
Mr Mitzevitch regarded Napangarti's painting as "by far the most sophisticated and superior work in the exhibition", and this despite the standard of the prize, and painting in particular, being "generally high".
He said the work "sums up what landscape painting is really about in the 21st century", even though it draws on thousands of years of Indigenous tradition.
Yukultji Napangarti and her family occupy a special place in Australian history, being the last known nomadic people to 'come in' from the desert, making contact with other Pintupi people in the tiny settlement of Kiwirrkurra in Western Australia in 1984. Her three brothers have also gained recognition as artists.
KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured, top: Yukultji Napangarti. Photo courtesy Papunya Tula Artists. At right: The winning work (detail). The artist's statement says the lines represent the sandhills surrounding the waterhole and soakage site known as Yunala, as well as the tubers of the silky pear vine, also known as yunala.