Historic walls alive with creativity and colour during the 2019 Cossack Art Awards

A Pilbara artist has claimed the top honour at regional Australia’s most unique acquisitive art prize tonight.

More than $90,000 in prize money was awarded across 10 categories at the City of Karratha’s 27th annual Cossack Art Awards in the historic village of Cossack on Saturday, July 20.

Some 300 artworks from across the nation were entered into the prestigious exhibition, which graces the century-old walls of two historic bluestone buildings each July and August.

South Hedland artist Gloria won Overall Best Artwork, with fellow female South Hedland artists Eileen Tinker and Maggie Green were awarded Best Artwork by a Pilbara Artist and Painting by a Pilbara Artist respectively.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the nationally-significant exhibition showcased and celebrated the wealth of local artistic talent.

“Cossack and the Pilbara are renowned as an artistic hub, which has been highlighted with local artists taking out seven of the 10 categories announced this evening,” Cr Long said.

“I would like to congratulate the winners for their achievements and all the entrants for their contribution to another exceptional exhibition.

“Thanks must also go to our well-respected judging panel who have dedicated their time and experience to the difficult task of selecting the winning and highly commended works.

“I encourage everyone to visit the exhibition and get involved with the public program of events and activities on offer over the coming weeks.”

Presented by the City of Karratha and principle partner Rio Tinto, the exhibition is open to the public 10am-3pm daily from July 21 to August 11. Admission is free.

Rio Tinto general manager Ports Dampier and Marine Tim McDougall said he was amazed each year the art, the stories behind the canvas and the high calibre of local artists.

“The Cossack Art Awards are a symbol of the artistic talent in our community, our landscape and the people who reside in the Pilbara,” Mr McDougall said.

“On behalf of Rio Tinto, I would like to congratulate this year’s entrants and winners.

“I encourage people take some time to visit the display and enjoy the activities taking place at Cossack in the coming weeks.”

Visitors to the exhibition can cast their vote in the Horizon Power People’s Choice Award, to be announced on August 12.


Best Overall Artwork - $15,000
Sponsor: City of Karratha
Artist: Gloria
Title: Untitled
Location: South Hedland, WA
Judges’ comments: A painterly and abstract piece that feels traditional, but in a western way. The result being a piece that perhaps is pushing the boundaries of what we "think" Indigenous art is. The placement of colours is stunning and creates a rich earthiness and connectivity to Country with an impressionistic blend of both the traditional and non-traditional. An artwork that could happily sit in any contemporary art category internationally and one that we could keep looking at for hours.

Best Artwork by Pilbara Artist - $10,000
Sponsor: Pilbara Ports Authority
Artist: Eileen Tinker
Title: Untitled
Location: South Hedland, WA
Judges’ comments: This piece sings of the intimacy of Country and gives a great sense of how a landscape sits together. The piece seems to unfold as you move up the painting through the colour blending of the blocks and the painterly quality of the piece as a whole and really details the vastness of space in the Pilbara and the ever moving distance to the unreachable horizon. 

Painting Pilbara Landscape - $8000
Sponsor: Rio Tinto
Artist: Tanya Montgomery
Title: Dampier
Location: Dampier, WA
Judges’ comments: An immediate identification of the artists projected location – Dampier. The use of colour and form translates the industrial landscape into a beautifully soft composition. The struggle between the natural in the foreground and the industrial on the horizon sits so lightly on the surface of this piece, showing the tension in such a content and serene way – very reminiscent of its location.

North West Flora and Fauna - $8,000
Sponsor: City of Karratha
Artist: Justina Willis
Title: Pilbara Wild Flowers
Location: Roebourne, WA
Judges’ comments: The depth created through the layers of this work provide a great sense of movement in this piece. The viewer has a feeling of being immersed in the field with the wind rustling the flowers around them. The intensity of the palette and the meticulous strokes throughout quite simply put, creates an amazing artwork.

Portraits - $8,000
Sponsor: City of Karratha
Artist: Tanya Jaceglav
Title: Perkins Rd
Location: Hamilton Hill, WA
Judges’ comments: A very clean piece where the artist has used the fading medium to their advantage. The framing of this piece provides the necessary containment of such a light piece. The artist expertly captures the contemplative moment of the subject and allows you to get lost in his possible thoughts.

Invited Artists - $8000
Sponsor: ECM Pty Ltd
Artist: David Frazer
Title: The Tangled Wood (Composition I)
Location: Castlemaine, VIC
Judges’ comments: The detail in this work is astounding and shows great depth in the piece. The way the cross sections do not quite meet up actually adds a great element to the work in continuing the eyes interest in the organic movement of the trees.  A meticulous execution, which shows a variety of technique but perhaps the greatest achievement is the artist’s ability to continue the sense of dappled light throughout the piece, a marathon achievement, not easily executed.

Emerging Young Artists - $8000
Sponsor: CITIC Pacific Mining
Artist: Kayla McMillan
Title: Child in the Wild – Stargazer
Location: Mount Tarcoola, WA
Judges’ comments: Reminiscent of a Paul Clay artwork with floating figures, this work is both whimsical and playful. The delicate handling of the details shows dedication and the result is a beautifully executed and very subtle work. The sense of lightness in the piece is both intriguing and ironic given the percentage of black ink but also the subject matter, being a whale shark, an animal of great size and weight yet this piece sings of innocence.

Painting Open Theme - $8000
Sponsor: Rio Tinto
Artist: Nicholas Werret
Title: Common Ground Seoul 21 October 2019
Location: Nickol, WA
Judges’ comments: A contemporary urban landscape. This artwork might be about our ever changing use of space how the creative can be found in the industrious and how this sits so complacently next together. A really innovative point of view with an almost birds eye feel. The perspective is refreshing and the bold shadow splitting this piece down the centre actually adds an element of time, reminiscent of a before and after appearance.

Painting by Indigenous Artists - $8000
Sponsor: Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation Ltd
Artist: Maggie Green
Title: Myroodah Station
Location: South Hedland, WA
Judges’ comments: The treatment of the colours in this work create almost a vibration feel, giving texture to the material but also drawing you into the work. The black base provides depth while the relationship between the circular canvas and grid like composition is a stark contrast but also very pleasing.

Works on Paper - $8000
Sponsor: City of Karratha
Artist: Carrie McDougall
Title: Blue Death
Location: Baynton, WA
Judges’ comments: This work draws you in, it wants you to know its story and it takes you a little while to figure out the narrative. Then as your mind is stitching together the delicate fibres of a fractured story, you see the deep red, like blood leaking out of the land. A history so eloquently told through this work, one of which you can’t stop looking at and understanding its strong message the more you learn and understand what it is all about.

The Cossack Art Awards are presented by the City of Karratha with principal partner Rio Tinto; category sponsors Pilbara Ports Authority, Horizon Power, CITIC Pacific Mining, ECM Pty Ltd, Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation Ltd; public program sponsors Pilbara Development Commission, ATCO Power Australia, NOVO Resources; and event sponsors Cleanaway, Onsite Rental Group, IAS Fine Art Logistics, Karratha Signs, Onyx Events, Dantranz Logistics Pty Ltd and Karratha International Hotel.

For further information about the Cossack Art Awards, please visit www.cossackartawards.com.au and follow the Cossack Art Awards Facebook page.