RMIT student Gregg Dinah has been selected as a finalist in the prestigious Victorian Indigenous Art Awards.
The Melbourne-based artist, who is studying a Diploma of Visual Arts at RMIT, said the nomination was the perfect "launch pad" for his career in visual arts.
"It's a rare opportunity for me to present my work to the wider Victorian art community, and I am very thankful for the opportunity, especially as I am very early in my journey toward becoming an artist," Mr Dinah said.
Award finalists are in the running for a share of $50,000 in prizes, including the Victorian Government's $30,000 Deadly Art Award.
Mr Dinah submitted three type C photographs titled House on the corner, Starry Night and Street Light.
He took the photographs in his local neighbourhood of Frankston and said he wanted them to show the area in a positive light.
Mr Dinah, who is of Noongar, Yamitji and Bardi ancestry, said he decided to pursue a career in the arts when he was just 16.
"After watching my mother, who paints as a hobby, and my sister, who writes poetry and plays the piano and guitar, I was inspired to follow my dreams and become an artist," he said.
He was grateful for the support RMIT digital imaging teacher Kirsten Lyttle offered throughout the submission process.
The awards and accompanying exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat celebrate the quality and diversity of art practice among Aboriginal and Torres Strait island artists.
Announcing the finalists, Victorian Minister for the Arts Heidi Victoria highlighted the importance of the awards for the Victorian Indigenous community.
"The Victorian Indigenous Art Awards are more than just an awards program, they are a celebration of the richness of Victoria's Indigenous arts and culture," Ms Victoria said.
RMIT Deputy Head of the Vocational Education in the Art, Belinda Wilson, said the exhibition was an exciting and well deserved opportunity for Mr Dinah to showcase his work to industry figures.
"To be selected as a finalist for this prestigious art award is an amazing opportunity," she said.
"Our visual arts programs focus on exhibition practice and 'hands-on' industry experience, and Gregg will be able to put this into practice at the Ballarat exhibition."
Art Gallery of Ballarat Director, Gordon Morrison, said the gallery was looking forward to hosting the awards for the second time.
"Presenting the awards last year was a very positive experience for the gallery, giving us the opportunity to build links with Victoria's Indigenous artistic community, while delivering a very impressive exhibition of contemporary art," Mr Morrison said.
RMIT Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) alumnus Hayley Milar also represents the University at the awards, shortlisted for her acrylic painting titled Lines.
The winners of the 2014 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards will be announced on Saturday, 23 August.
An exhibition of all shortlisted works will be held at the Art Gallery of Ballarat from Saturday, 23 August to Sunday, 5 October.
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