We Can Be Heroes is a photographic series by Indigenous artist Tony Albert. It was awarded the National Aborginal and Torres Straight Islander Art Award. The artist “made the work after Sydney police shot two Aboriginal teenagers who drove into a Kings Cross footpath in April 2012.” He says: “We are kind of walking targets in society, whether that be through police violence or brutality, or being followed around in shops.”
Reko Rennie is a Melbourne-based Kamilaroi artist. The title for this piece evokes one of the most famous songs by hip hop artists The Beastie Boys (“No Sleep Till Brooklyn”), and is inspired by his personal life, cultural heritage and street art.
As an urban Indigenous Australian, my work often references the hip-hop and graffiti subcultures that were influential on my artistic practice in my formative years
This won the $50,000 Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award. The diptych shows Meyne Wyatt in character for the play, Black Diggers. The play was a co-production between Queensland Theatre Company and Sydney Festival. The play explores the contribution Aboriginal soldiers made to Australian history, from the WWI battlefields of Gallipoli, to Palestine to Flanders.
Dr Sarah Engledow, the historian at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra who judged the contest said the portrait was
the one that sustained my interest, aesthetically and sympathetically… I was moved by the restraint of the work, its gentleness, and the effect of its miniscule differences.