Photograph of the 2021 Koorie Art Show

Gunnai artist Ronald Pepper is the winner of the 2021 Koorie Art Show, Creative Victoria Award for Excellence in Any Media for his work Coming Out 2. He has been awarded a cash prize of $10,000.

In his artist statement Pepper says, ‘This artwork is about me coming out and being proud of my culture. I aim to make a difference in all cultures and break down the barriers in my artwork. I might be Aboriginal but I don’t always do Aboriginal designs. I step outside my box and that’s why I do a lot of colour in spirals, not an Indigenous image or design. We are all different and we’re all different colour, people as myself, might be black Aboriginal, but I’m gay and I’m proud, and that’s why I love colour. I’m very happy to have that black in the pride flag and to be on the committee and the represent my mum and my culture and to be a role model. I work with many people and they walk along on Country with me and my man Cameron. He has been there when my mum passed last year, and he help me and supported me.’

The Koorie Art Show is an annual art Award and exhibition and is the only exhibition in Victoria dedicated to showcasing the work of Koorie and Victorian based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. The Koorie Art Show has been a spring-board for national recognition with many of the artists finding gallery representations, going on to present solo shows throughout Australia and to have their work in national collections, both private and public.

The complete 2021 Koorie Art Show Award recipients are:

Metro Tunnel Creative Program 2D Award – $5,000
Thelma Beeton (Palawa) for Multicultural

Viva Energy Australia 3D Award – $5,000
Monique Grbec (Stolen Generations) for Wasted 2

Lendlease Reconciliation Award – $5,000
Dr Deanne Gilson (Wadawurrung) for Post Preston, After the Bushfires, Our Native Wildlife, Plants & Country Need Healing

RMIT University Emerging Artist Award – $5,000
Charlie Miller (Kanolu) for K-A-N-O-L-U

City of Melbourne Aboriginal Melbourne Award – $5,000
Wayne Quilliam (Palawa) for Ascension

G4S Australia & New Zealand Encouragement Awards – Encouragement Awards (2 x $500)
Mitchil Harding (Taungurung) for Me
Tracy Wise (Barkindji, Ngiyampaa) for Jandahl – Dilly Bag

Entries for the 2021 Koorie Art Show are currently exhibited at the Koorie Heritage Trust, Yarra Building, Federation Square, Melbourne until 20 February 2022. Entry is free and for more information see