Aboriginal artists have been invited by the Desart and Central Land Council to submit their works for the third Vincent Lingiari Art Award.
The theme of this year's Art Award is Ngawa, Ngapa, Kapi, Kwatja, Water which was selected to voice that water rights are in fact land rights, according to Central Land Council (CLC) chair, Sammy Wilson.
"The government gave us some of our land back but not the water. Water is the new land rights," Wilson added.
The $10,000 award celebrates the 55th anniversary of the Wave Hill Walk Off, when Vincent Lingiari led striking station workers to camp near Wattie Creek in the Northern Territory, by accepting works that respond to the critical importance of water for the continued survival of Aboriginal peoples.
"The award has always been unashamedly political and this year it will raise awareness of our struggle against massive water theft that threatens the survival of desert plants, animals and people and for safe drinking water for our remote communities," Desart chief executive, Philip Watkins said.
Water is critical to the social, cultural, economic and political identity of Aboriginal people in the CLC region, and CLC chief executive, Lesley Turner said a lack of water would have "detrimental" effects.
"Over almost half a century the CLC has won back significant areas of land on behalf of traditional Aboriginal land owners, but without safe, secure and adequate sources of water their very survival on this land is under threat," Turner said.
"Poor water quality, water shortages, water use in fracking and agribusiness have a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of our people, their country and cultures."
He said the award exhibition, that will take place from September 8, 2021 at the Tangentyere Artists Gallery in Alice Springs, will send an urgent message not to take water for granted in a world where water rights are shaping up as a new frontier.
Artists from the CLC region and art centres affiliated with Desart have until June 30 to submit works that explore their connection with their land and water.
In addition to the main award, CLC members will choose the winner of the Delegates Choice Award when they meet from August 24-26 at Mr Lingiari's home of Kalkaringi, ahead of the 55th Freedom Day celebration at the community.
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