2013 National NAIDOC Poster Competition winner announced

We Value the vision, Yirrikala Bark Petitions 1963, Celebrating NAIDOC week 7-14 July 2013

Artist: Gail Naden

Title: Claiming Our Ground

Aboriginal artist, Gail Naden, from Gilgandra in NSW has won the 2013 National NAIDOC Poster Competition with her digital artwork titled Claiming our Ground.

The enthusiastic artist received a $5000 cash prize for her submission to the competition. The artwork will feature on the 2013 National NAIDOC Poster, displayed across Australia to promote NAIDOC Week which runs from 7-14 July.

Gail said she was overjoyed when told she had won the competition.

“It is a privilege to be recognised with a national award after 35 years of working in the arts industry, and it gives encouragement to other emerging artists that there are rewards,” Gail said.

Claiming Our Ground consists of two photographs, one depicting the legs of men walking around the land and one of water particles embossed to create crevices. Ochre colours were added, and circles of communities were drawn to give the impression of distances occupied by Gail’s fore fathers and mothers.

Gail said that she had wanted to create an artwork that reflected this year’s NAIDOC theme We Value the Vision, Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963, and represented perseverance and success.

“In doing this artwork for this competition, I took photos of frost on the window and decided that that formed a landscape and so I actually coloured that landscape in ochre colours and then I took photos of legs of dancers and that is how I got the two images,” Gail said.

“The concept is about gaining land through education, through perseverance and through believing that we can attain success ourselves.

“The message is about grabbing hold of something that you really believe in and making that a success in your life, like the Yolngu people did 50 years ago.”

The artwork incorporates Gail’s interest in graphic design, but she said she still enjoys traditional methods of creating art.

“Graphic design influences me because I’ve grown up with it as a design technique, how you combine the different elements, text with images, and formatting text on an illustration, photograph or whatever it is you need to compile those elements so that they work well together,” Gail said.

“I have used the mouse as my paintbrush and it is just a different tool to using a real paintbrush. I still physically paint, but using a computer is another medium other than using natural resources.”

Gail said that being able to manipulate the photographs on the computer allowed her to create a whole new meaning for the images.

“It isn’t just saying it is a picture of frost on a glass, I have actually created another environment. I have said this is land, and these are communities, these are places that we have walked and impacted people. These are communities and these footsteps are significant, wherever you put your feet, you claim that as yours.”