Established Pilbara artist Wendy Darby has won the 2015 Cossack Art Awards Best Overall Artwork for her stand out painting ‘Country’.

This is the second time Ms Darby has won the award, cementing her as an exceptional Indigenous artist on the national stage.

The 2015 Cossack Art Award judges, Sydney Morning Herald art critic John McDonald and Aboriginal contemporary artist Vernon Ah Kee said the work was a standout piece right from the beginning.

“The winning artwork, ‘Country’ by Wendy Darby, showed a depth of story and line that stood out when judging. We recognised the painting immediately as a deserving winner of the Best Overall Artwork in these 2015 Cossack Art Awards,” Mr Ah Kee said.

A reputable artist at Yinjaa-Barni Art Centre in Roebourne, Western Australia, Wendy uses her country and experiences as inspiration for her painting.

Growing up in the Nyangumarta bush community at Yandeyarra cattle station, outside of Port Hedland, Ms Darby learned about her country and environment from a young age and these learnings and experiences are where she now draws inspiration for her work.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said it was a pleasure to present Wendy with the Best Overall Artwork prize alongside principle partner Rio Tinto.

“It is a real thrill to be able to reward such a beautiful piece of artwork and from a local Roebourne artist. Wendy and the Yinjaa-Barni Art Centre have been great supporters of the Cossack Art Awards in the past and it is a pleasure to acknowledge Wendy and her beautiful work this year,” Cr Long said.

Wendy has previously won the Best Overall Artwork award in 2008 and was awarded the prize for Best Pilbara Artist in 2014.
“Country means so much to me and my family. We learn all about places, plants and animals of the area through stories from our family. To me, every time I paint, I think about my country and what the old people taught me,” Ms Darby said.

Yinjaa-Barni Art Centre Manager Patricia Floyd said the Cossack Art Awards was an important time of year for local artists.

“The Cossack Art Awards is such an important exhibition for our local artists. They work so hard every year preparing for it as it is an opportunity for them to present their stories and the colours of their country on the national stage,” Mrs Floyd said.

Image available here.

Image caption: 2015 Cossack Art Award overall winner Wendy Darby with her winning work ‘Country’ alongside judges Vernon Ah Kee and John McDonald, City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long and Rio Tinto General Manager Rail Operations Zara Fisher.

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