Robert Feilding, Telstra Prize Winner, 2015

Robert Feilding, Telstra Prize Winner, 2015


APY Photography Program

Over the past seven years directors of APY Art Centres have made a substantial investment in introducing the new medium of photography into the Art Centre program. Art Centre Directors have driven this strategy for two reasons: to attract new, young artists to Art Centre activities and secondly to secure a new stream of income for young artists. Over the years Directors saw government and community service providers paying for professional photographers to visit community for work. Directors of APY Art Centres are ambitious in regard to Anangu taking on as many roles as possible in all art and culture projects, and community Elders believed that with the right training and support from their Art Centre, young artists could undertake this work for themselves.  From the outset, the quality of the work produced by Anangu photographers was exceptional, particularly in regard to the portraiture captured, as community elders were vastly more comfortable having their photograph taken by their grandchildren.

The Directors’ investment was closely followed by mentoring and support from industry friends like Philip Watkins from Desart and Nici Cumpston from the Art Gallery of South Australia. This was the catalyst for immediate achievements by APY Artists. Rhonda Unurupa Dick (Tjala Arts) won the prestigious Dreaming Award in 2013, while Robert Fielding won the work on paper prize of the National Indigenous Art Awards with his political work Milkali Kutju, One Blood in 2015. Artists like Brenda Douglas, Josina Pumani, Shirley Adamson and Senera Ken have exhibited their work at 107 Project Space and Alcaston Gallery. Art centres like Iwantja Arts and Mimili Maku Arts have more recently supported artists to create video works. Works by APY Art Centre photographers have been acquired by museums and institutions across Australia and abroad and numerous high profile private collectors. APY photographers maintain a continued presence at prestigious industry events and awards and their success and achievements is a great source of pride for community Elders and senior artists.

As always, the APY photographers have a busy year ahead. In addition to their own practice they will also be responsible for documenting the many important regional projects planned for APY Art Centres in 2018. Furthermore, with the launch of our APY Gallery in Sydney, our young photographers will have an exciting opportunity to partner with the National Art School (NAS). Artists are looking forward to new professional development opportunities and outcomes in conjunction with the photography studio at NAS.