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Fremantle Ports Manjaree Indigenous Art Competition winners announced

Outstanding quality praised for Fremantle Ports Manjaree Indigenous Art Competition 2024
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  • Published 9 Jul 2024

Winners were announced last night for the Fremantle Ports Manjaree Indigenous Art Competition. Fremantle Ports CEO Jodie Ransom said 159 entries had been received and the judging panel was highly impressed with the standard of art submitted, coming from all regions of Western Australia.

The judging panel comprised Art Gallery of WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art curator Carly Lane, Noongar artist Bradley Kickett and Ms Ransom.

The winners are:

Open Category: Sonya Edney, for ‘Gascoyne Waterhole’ ($3000)
Open Runner-Up: Cole Baxter, for ‘You’re not Wanjoo’ ($1500)
Youth Category (under 18): Grace Barrie, for ‘Gliding through Life’ ($3000)
Youth Category (under 18) Runner-Up: Taylor Kelly for ‘Self Embodiment’ ($1500).


Mr Kickett said Sonya Edney’s work. ‘Gascoyne Waterhole’ was outstanding.

‘Everything was resolved and right about it, with composition, colour, textures and scale all coming together. There was a sophisticated use of negative space, colour and a graduation of light to dark. Even within the dot work, there was texture and depth,’ he said.

The painting evoked a real connection to Country and culture and the artist had demonstrated an intimate connection to place, he said.

Sonya Edney is an Ingarrda-Wadjarri artist born in Carnarvon in the Gascoyne region in 1974. Sonya started painting at Burringurrah community, located between the towns of Meekatharra and Carnarvon and is now Perth-based.

Judges agreed the artwork that won the Youth category, Grace Barrie’s ‘Gliding through Life’ was outstanding for a 17-year-old and demonstrated great brushwork and deliberate use of empty space.

The judges felt the work, which features a stingray, demonstrated superb control over darkness and light, use of colour and perception of depth.

All 159 artworks are currently being laser-projected on the side of Fremantle Ports’ iconic building on Victoria Quay, lighting up the night sky until 10.30pm, as high as the 8th floor.

Ms Lane said the projection was an exciting way to take the exhibition to the public during NAIDOC Week:

‘To go through all the individual artworks. you get to see a rhythm of creativity and excellence.

When I was judging, I was imagining them being projected at night. Everyone should come down to see it because it’s not every day you get to see art in public spaces,’ she said.

Ms Ransom said the Manjaree Indigenous Art Competition was one initiative in Fremantle Port’s Reconciliation Action Plan and Fremantle Ports felt proud to support the WA Indigenous art scene. Manjaree is the Whadjuk name for the gathering place around Fremantle Port and Bathers Beach where Aboriginal people engaged in trade and cultural exchange.

“Manjaree is a place with a remarkable history of trade and culture and we’re proud to remind people of that through this initiative,” Ms Ransom said.

The public can also have their say, by voting in the $1000 People’s Choice Award:

The People’s Choice Award will be announced next week.

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