Malka Art Prize continues despite virus restriction

ENTRANT: Betty Nyuntungku with her piece titled Wirree Tjukurpa (story of tree where dish came from).

ENTRANT: Betty Nyuntungku with her piece titled Wirree Tjukurpa (story of tree where dish came from).

The breathtaking selection at the 2020 Malka Aboriginal Art Prize tells a story of survival, culture and family.

But this year organisers of the event were forced to get creative in the wake of strict Covid-19 restrictions.

Instead of letting the 11-year tradition lapse, the Port Augusta Cultural Centre exhibited the collection online.

"We originally cancelled Malka then after we made the decision we thought we could probably do it online, so we rejigged the original forms and to our amazement we ended up with 47 entries," Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Facilitator Maria Anderson said.

"We celebrated our 10th anniversary last year and its something our community looks forward to participating in.

"I think they were keen to continue that."

The exhibition was the brain child of the late Marvin McKenzie Senior, who's vision to have an Aboriginal art show ensured the Aboriginal community would have a space to showcase their work.

'Malka' is a word used by a number of Aboriginal language groups within the Port Augusta region, meaning mark or painting.

Artist: Delson Coulthard with his Mulga wood carving entry.

Artist: Delson Coulthard with his Mulga wood carving entry.

Ms Anderson said the response to the online gallery has been overwhelming.

In honour of the continued community support, an extra category for Elders has been added for judging.

"We have had people tap in from Western Australia and New South Whales, because a lot of South Australians have family living in other states and territories, so they have gone on and voted which has been really good," Ms Anderson said.

"The feedback has been awesome. For us at the Port Augusta Cultural Centre, going online has just inspired us more."

The judging is carried out by three independent judges based on three criteria; creativity and style, technique and proficiency as well as presentation.

Winners will be announced at a postponed National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week event.