Bluethumb’s Hubert Pareroultja Wins 2020 Wynne Prize
Alongside this year’s Archibald and Sulman Prize winners Vincent Namatjira and Marikit Santiago, Bluethumb artist Hubert Pareroultja of lltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre was announced the winner of the 2020 Wynne Prize last Friday. One of Australia’s longest-running art prizes, the Wynne is awarded annually to the best Australian landscape painting or figure sculpture.
Western Aranda artist Hubert won the $50,000 prize for his painting Tjoritja (West MacDonnell Ranges, NT). The artwork relates to his and his ancestors’ beliefs that in a distant past, giant caterpillars called the Yeperenye became Tjoritja. “In this painting, the trees are a symbol for caterpillars coming through to the Country, and they travelled from Mount Zeil past Mparntwe (Alice Springs) to Emily Gap,” Hubert explains. “I believe Emily Gap to be part of the West MacDonnell Ranges (although other people refer to them as the East MacDonnell Ranges). I got all the ideas for the painting from my father, Ruben Pareroultja, because he was a Western Aranda man.”
“When I heard the story of my winning, I was in shock. It was like I was somewhere else, in outer space. The work is really detailed. I put in a lot of details, and it was hard work. I like it this way,’ Hubert said via videolink at the Art Gallery of NSW during the awards ceremony. “I’m so happy and glad that my work is appreciated and seen by so many people down south. It’s important for me because it’s my country that my father showed me when I first learnt to paint,” he said. “I would like to see more Aboriginal people doing the same work that I’m doing.”
Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) Michael Brand commented, “The way he has taken the Hermannsburg watercolour tradition onto a large canvas is breathtaking, as is the way he infuses a familiar looking landscape with such deep spiritual meaning. Hubert’s win marks an important moment for landscape painting in Australia.”
Congratulations to all the winners and finalists of this year’s Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes – especially Hubert! You can check out our previous blog on the Bluethumb finalists, or discover more of Hubert Pareroultja’s incredible landscapes on his Bluethumb profile here; you better be quick though as he’s been selling fast!