Wergaia, Wemba Wemba artist Kelly Koumalatsos is the winner of the prestigious Koori Art Show currently on display at the Koori Heritage Centre, Federation Square, Melbourne.
Kelly was announced the overall winner for her work show above and titled Sister in Laws: Wemba Wemba Great Aunty Frieda Steward and Wergaia Great Grandmother Eleanor Steward, 2019.
In her statement about her workd Koumalatsos says, “this blouse is a portrait of my ancestors – the possum printed blouse from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. It represents the strength of the woman in my family and their ability to do more than simply survive the oppression of the times. The possum fur print symbolised the cultural identity of Granny and Auncy regardless of the colonising life that was around them. Granny who was born on Ebenezer Mission in 1887 and was a strong and determined woman who had kept her own dictionary of Wergaia language. The photograph was taken early 1900’s.”
90 artists from across Victoria submitted works for the Award. The judging panel comprising Aunty Esther Kirby OAM, Yorta Yorta, Wirakjuri, Myles Russell-Cook and Steven Rhall, Taungurung believe this years awards represented some of the best work seen to date. Other winners include –
Peter Waples-Crowe, Ngarigo – Metro Tunnel Creative Program 2D Award
Ngardang Girri Kalat Mimini Victorian Indigenous Women’s and Trans Diverse Art Collective – Viva Energy 3D Award
Kait James. Wadawurrung – Lendlease Reconciliation Award
Tammy Gilson, Wadawurrung – RMIT University Emerging Artist Award
Greg Muir, Yorta Yorta and Tanisha Lovett, Wotjobaluk, Gunditjmara – Koori Heritage Trust Highly Commended Award
Image copyright: Kelly Koumalatsos. Image and content provided by Purple Media