Third major art prize for QCA alumnus Tony Albert

Tony Albert with his winning work The Hand You're Dealt, 2015, vintage Aboriginal playing cards, dimensions variable. Represented by sullivan+strumpf, Sydney. Photograph by Sam Noonan, courtesy Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, University of South Australia.
Tony Albert with his winning work The Hand You’re Dealt, 2015, vintage Aboriginal playing cards, dimensions variable. Represented by sullivan+strumpf, Sydney. Photograph by Sam Noonan, courtesy Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, University of South Australia.

Queensland College of Art (QCA) alumnus Tony Albert has taken out his third major Australian art prize — the $65,000 Fleurieu Art Prize.

Known as the richest landscape art prize in the world, it follows his two previous art prize successes with the $50,000 Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, and the $100,000 Basil Sellers Art Prize in 2014.

Tony’s winning work, The Hand You’re Dealt, is the first installation to ever win the Fleurieu Art Prize, after organisers opened up the call this year to all art forms.

With more than 750 entries, the work was selected from 57 other finalists and comprises a suite of vintage playing cards, with placement that weaves references to Western popular culture and Australian Aboriginal culture.

In interrogating his immense collection of “Aboriginalia” (a term the artist coined to describe kitschy objects and images that feature naive portrayals of Aboriginality), heasks viewersto engage with the Australian landscape: tangible, social and political.

Nigel Hurst, Director of London’s Saatchi Gallery, who led the judging panel, said Tony’s work was chosen “for its deft and playful, yet considered interpretation of his homeland”.

“His use of something so every day as playing cards to create this exquisite, visually arresting and pertinent work exemplifies the skill and talent of this deserving Fleurieu Art Prize winner.”

Erica Green, Director of Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art agrees.

“Tony Albert is a most worthy winner and we’re especially pleased to award this prize to an indigenous artist during National Reconciliation Week 2016.”

Tony graduated from the QCA with a Bachelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art in 2004, and has exhibited his work in solo and group exhibitions in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Israel and China.

His winning work will be on display at the Samstag Museum of Art from Friday 3 June until Friday 29 July.

Find out more about the Bachelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art.