Nationwide Indigenous Art Competition Launched in Dubbo

Kinetic Art competition launch 2020

Indigenous artists from across Australia are being invited to apply for one of the country’s largest art competitions, as part of Dubbo Regional Council’s (DRC’s) $13 million Destination Dubbo: International Ready project. The competition is in search of an artist to create an Indigenous artwork that can be transformed into a kinetic art piece. The top three artists will work with a company to develop their work into the kinetic piece, and from there, a winner will be chosen by a judging panel made up of members from DRC, Telstra, Art Gallery of NSW and City of Sydney Public Art Advisory Panel in addition to local and state government representatives.

One block from the Macquarie River, and in the centre of the main street, the artwork with acknowledge the importance of the river as an integral communication tool to First Nations people, as well as modern history with the addition of the post office, court house, telephone and data exchange as crucial to community connectivity and communication. These elements are captured within the theme of the artwork, which is Community, Country, Connection: finding common ground. Mayor of the Dubbo Region, Councillor Ben Shields, says the competition is open to professional artists from around the country, and artists from Wiradjuri Country are strongly encouraged to apply. The artwork will be located on the façade of the telecommunications exchange owned and operated by Telstra, and will overlook the General Post Office, Old Dubbo Gaol, and a new community precinct on the site of the original courthouse and lockup.

“Some of the questions artists will need to address in their application include; what value do they see in the conditions of the site and its ability to support your proposed concept, and how do you see the role of public art to help communities find common ground? Artists will also need to include a plan for community engagement and consultation,” said Councillor Shields.

The competition is comprised of two stages. The first stage is the Expressions of Interest phase, where artists are invited to address specific criteria about the artwork they would like to produce. The expressions of interest will close at 5pm on Monday 31 January, 2021. The second stage will be shortlisting, where three applicants will be chosen by the selection panel to progress. The artists will be notified via email and will be provided with funding to work up concept and design, along with a site visit, to enable artists to view the site of the work, and engage with community.

“We then expect that the final selection will occur in April 2021, and fabrication to commence in May and installation within the first quarter of 2022. The three finalists will be paid for their time, with $5,000 for each of the three shortlisted candidates. The successful artist will receive $10,000 for design development, $55,000 commissioning fee, and $20,000 in prizemoney, making it one of the largest art competitions in the country,” said Councillor Shields.

The project is partly funded by the NSW Government, under Restart NSW’s Regional Growth – Environment and Tourism Fund. The fund aims to increase tourist visitation by investing in regional environment and tourism infrastructure, particularly focusing on fixed assets that will grow and further diversity NSW regional economies. Member for Dubbo, Dugald Saunders, said “the NSW Government has contributed more than $10 million towards the Destination Dubbo projects, and the kinetic artwork will really bring the new and improved Old Dubbo Gaol plaza to life.”

Artists interested in applying can visit the Destination Dubbo section of DRC’s website, to download a Artwork Brief, and to complete the Expressions of Interest Form. As part of the submission, artists will be required to upload a current CV, examples of past work, and an artist statement and/or concept plan for the work.

Last Edited: 05 Jan 2021

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