Matthew Humphries Win $5000 NAIDOC Prize for “Road to Change”

The National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee has awarded $5000 to Matthew Humphries, an indigenous artist from Mackay in Central Queensland, Australia, for his artwork “Road to Change”, which will be used in promoting the the annual celebrations of Australia’s traditional owners.

100 artists entered the NAIDOC  poster competition under the theme: ‘Change – the next step is ours’. The aim of the competition is to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who arrived in Australia nearly 40,000 years before white settlers.

Mr Humphries said of his process:

“I spent a week thinking of a design that would reflect the 2011 theme and once I had a clear idea what I wanted to do, started to transfer the design on to a digital canvas.

“It has been quite a big learning curve for me. I spent a lot of time squinting at my 11″ laptop but was more than pleased with the outcome and honoured to be selected among so many great artists.”

NAIDOC Week 2011 runs from 3rd – 10th July and includes local celebrations, a national awards ceremony and the dispersal of government grants for indigenous development. Free copies of the poster are available to those taking part in the festivities – for more information refer to NAIDOC.

In This Story: Aborigines

Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples of the Australian mainland and many of its islands, such as Tasmania, Fraser Island, Hinchinbrook Island, the Tiwi Islands, and Groote Eylandt, but excluding the Torres Strait Islands.

Aboriginal Australians comprise many distinct peoples who have developed across Australia for over 50,000 years. These peoples have a broadly shared, though complex, genetic history, but it is only in the last two hundred years that they have been defined and started to self-identify as a single group.

The term Indigenous Australians refers to Aboriginal Australians as well as Torres Strait Islanders.

Before extensive European settlement, there were over 250 Aboriginal languages. In the 2016 Australian Census, Indigenous Australians comprised 3.3% of Australia’s population, with 91% of these identifying as Aboriginal only, 5% Torres Strait Islander, and 4% both.

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    Queensland (QLD) is an Australian state covering the continent’s northeast, with a coastline stretching nearly 7,000km. Its offshore Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system, hosts thousands of marine species. The city of Cairns is a gateway to the reef and tropical Daintree Rainforest. The capital, Brisbane, is flanked by the surfing beaches of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.

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    Torres Strait Islanders are the Indigenous peoples of the Torres Strait Islands, which are part of the state of Queensland, Australia. Ethnically distinct from the Aboriginal people of the rest of Australia, they are often grouped with them as Indigenous Australians. Today there are many more Torres Strait Islander people living in mainland Australia (nearly 28,000) than on the Islands (about 4,500).

    There are five distinct peoples within broader designation of Torres Strait Islander people, based partly on geographical and cultural divisions. There are two main Indigenous language groups, Kalaw Lagaw Ya and Meriam Mir, and Torres Strait Creole is also widely spoken, as a language of trade and commerce. The core of Island culture is Papuo-Austronesian, and the people traditionally a seafaring nation. There is a strong artistic culture, particularly in sculpture, printmaking and mask-making.

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