The celebrations of NAIDOC Week across the Upper Hunter saw the artistic talents of the local Aboriginal community awarded at the second annual Muswellbrook NAIDOC Week Local Aboriginal Art Awards on Saturday 13th July 2013. The Award Ceremony was addressed by this year's adjudicator, renowned Hunter Valley Aboriginal artist and educator Marianne McKinnon-Kidd.
This year saw the prize monies increased to over $2,000.00
Thanks to the continued sponsorship of the Coal & Allied Aboriginal Community Development Fund and new sponsor John Flood Estate Agents the total prize pool increased to $2,000.
The Muswellbrook NAIDOC Week Local Aboriginal Art Awards are divided into two sections, one for adults and another for youth aged 12 to18 years as well as a Peoples' Choice Prize which was voted for over the preceding eight weeks of the exhibition.
Opening night celebrations
The doors of the Arts Centre opened at 6.00pm and the celebrations included musical entertainment by young Scone didgeridoo player Lachlan Phelps with food and beverages supplied by the Two Rivers winery at Denman and Hunter Belle Cheese of Muswellbrook.
Arts Centre Manager Brad Franks addressed the crowd on the importance of this year's NAIDOC Week theme "We value the vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963" and introduced Marianne McKinnon-Kidd who welcomed those attending in both Wanaruah and Dhurug traditional Aboriginal languages.
Ms McKinnon-Kidd praised the quality of the artworks and stressed the importance for Aboriginal artists to have the opportunity to get their work exhibited locally. In announcing the winners of the Award Ms McKinnon-Kidd said "I would love to give everyone a prize for taking the chance of putting their work up for judging, it is a very hard thing to do and I commend all the artists who are hung here tonight". Ms McKinnon-Kidd continued "Of course there are only seven prizes in all but because they have been such a difficult decisions to make I have also chosen to award six Highly Commended awards, my congratulations to all the winners".