East Kimberley artist Patrick Mung Mung has won the $30,000 Bankwest Contemporary Art Award, announced last night after a five-year hiatus.
The Warmun painter, 64, was the first regional WA artist to win the award with his natural ochre painting Purnululu, which depicts Gawarre, steep hills in Ngarrgooroon country near Halls Creek.
Represented by the Warmun Art Centre and Seva Frangos Art, Mung Mung paints in the Warmun tradition of his late father George Mung Mung, Rover Thomas and Paddy Jaminji.
Art centre manager Jonathan Kimberley said Mung Mung's success against contemporary artists from around the State was a strong statement about the strength of culture and art practice at Warmun.
"It says something about the enduring power of ochre, the ochre from Patrick's country, which imbues the work with something that other art forms don't have."
Mung Mung, a former stockman, started painting in 1991 following his father's death and helped establish the art centre in 1998. He is a multiple National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award finalist.
The acquisitive Bankwest award had been on hold pending the completion of the bank's new headquarters, Bankwest Place, in the Raine Square redevelopment. A $5000 People's Choice award also is on offer.
The Bankwest Contemporary Art Prize exhibition is at the Bankwest Art Gallery, 300 Murray Street, Perth, until February 10.