Michael Cook wins people's choice in WA Art Awards - Art Collector

28 November 2011 | Forty-three-year-old photomedia artist Michael Cook has been voted people's choice winner in the Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards. Over 1,100 votes were cast.

Cook, who only turned to fine art five years ago after a career in fashion photography, exhibited a suite of 27 works titled
Through My Eyes. He wins $5,000.

The Art Gallery of Western Australia, which hosts the prize, has also chosen to acquire the work.

Writing in the award catalogue, curator Glenn Iseger-Pilkington says Cook’s work “traverses time and history”.

He adds: “An image of each of the nation’s prime ministers is overlaid with an Indigenous face. The PMs’ faces, from Barton to Gillard, look straight through us, each smugly looking as though they hold a precious secret. This satirical work interrogates ideologies of power and control, illusion and substance, the role of a foreign sovereign and its government in an occupied land.”

The main $50,000 prize was awarded to Gunybi Ganambarr in August 2011.

The finalists exhibition continues at the Art Gallery of Western Australia until 19 December 2011.

Jane O'Sullivan

Above: Michael Cook, Through My Eyes, 2010, detail - Kevin Rudd, inkjet print on Hahnemuhle paper, suite of 27 works, each 50 x 40cm. Courtesy: the artist and Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane

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