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Spirit and place by Liz Rogers

Baluk Arts’ artist Lisa Waup has been selected to represent Victoria in this year’s Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (NATSIAA), held at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin. This is Australia’s leading national prize for Indigenous art and Waup has been chosen from 75 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists nationally (along with other Victorian representatives).

Lisa was separated from her Gunditjmara and Torres Islander family at a young age. After completing a Bachelor of Arts at RMIT and developing an affinity with Melanesian culture (through living in Papua New Guinea), she began creating work made from multiple layers and pieces that symbolise layers of history and story. Her detailed stitching symbolises reattaching the fragments and her three dimensional works are created from paper and distinctive weaving techniques.

“I’ve always collected feathers. They represent a replacement of ancestral Indigenous history that is unknown and lost and are tangible pieces of cultural information” she says. Her emu feather baskets contain interwoven local feathers with seeds, stones and fur and have been “soul defining to create”. Her culture basket is inspired by spirit or poison bags from Papua New Guinea and symbolised justice, healing, peace and connection defining time and place.

Baluk Arts has also been invited to be the only Victorian Aboriginal Arts Centre represented at the Darwin Art Fair (showcasing 60 art centres from around Australia and representing over 2000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists) which coincides with the announcement of the Telstra Award winners and exhibition opening. Waup and the other Victorian artists’ work will be on display.

The Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award runs from August 5 – October 30.

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