Artbank curators travelled to the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and acquired a work by Titus Nganjmirra title 'Queen Elizabeth' for the 2019 collection.
The piece was a part of the Salon Art Projects exhibition and won the Telstra Emerging Artist Award at the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA).
The judges described the work "This sophisticated and concentrated work is both serious and playful, referencing Australia's history of colonisation and the resilience of Indigenous culture and in particular the visual language of West Arnhem Land."
The artist was inspired by the dual meaning of the word kunwardde which, when translated into English means both 'stone' and 'money'. Stone is a central aspect of traditional Kunwunjku culture, representing resources, artistic expression and ways of living. Money is also a potent symbol of wealth and exchange.
Titus borrows the profile of Queen Elizabeth found on Australian coins and renders it in traditional modes of painting. Surrounded by male and female Nayuhyungki (the first people) and endemic plants and animals, the work is a strong expression of sovereignty, cross-cultural exchange and the desire to share Kunwunjku culture widely.
Organisations or individuals can now lease the artwork to be situated in their space. All funds raised from the leasing scheme are funnelled straight back to Australian artists through acquisition.
Artbank's exhibition, Tjungu Palyangku Tjukurpa titutjara kunpu ngaranytja-ku I As we come together we stand strong for our story, is on display at its Sydney and Melbourne premises until 8 November.
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