14 July 2023

Inaugural Cyril Knox Art Prize to uncover local Aboriginal talent

UPDATE: The deadline for entry submissions has been extended until 5pm, Sunday 5 November 2023. The exhibition will begin on Saturday 18 November.

Entries are now open for the inaugural Cyril Knox Art Prize, a biennial award that will recognise and celebrate the best Aboriginal artists in North West NSW.

Whitehaven Coal (Whitehaven) is partnering with Narrabri Shire Council to deliver the first ever Cyril Knox Art Prize exhibition at The Crossing Theatre in Narrabri beginning Saturday 23 September, with the theme for this year’s prize to be the NAIDOC Week theme “For our Elders”.

The top 10 finalists in each category will have their artworks displayed for the week, with the community invited to come along and experience the artists’ unique talents for themselves. The inaugural Cyril Knox Art Prize winner will be announced on Friday 5th October via Whitehaven’s website and the Narrabri Shire Council and Arts North West social media platforms.

The winner will receive $5,000 while community members will be able to vote for the people’s choice award, with the winner receiving $1,500. There will also be a junior prize of $500.

The Cyril Knox Art Prize is named in honour of Cyril Knox, a well-known Narrabri local and exceptionally talented Aboriginal artist. The Prize will celebrate his artistic talents and endeavours, while also encouraging emerging Aboriginal artists to follow in his footsteps. Members of the Knox family will be on the judging panel for the awards, alongside representatives of Narrabri Shire Council and Whitehaven Coal.

The Prize is a new initiative developed by Whitehaven to support its Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) activities.

As part of its RAP, Whitehaven has committed to commissioning an Aboriginal artist to produce an artwork to display in its corporate offices each year, with three artworks on display today. The Cyril Knox Prize expands on this commitment and will highlight and support the talents of a wider range of Aboriginal artists for the entire community to enjoy.

Whitehaven Coal Managing Director and CEO Paul Flynn said the company is proud to be championing this exciting new initiative.

“Cyril Knox had a significant impact on the local community that extended far beyond his artwork,” Mr Flynn added.

“We’re delighted to be launching this Prize in partnership with Narrabri Shire Council as a way to celebrate his contribution to the region and provide a platform for emerging Aboriginal artists to show off their talents.”

“It builds on the great work our team is already doing as part of our Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan, which has a particular focus on the areas where we can make a substantial and sustainable difference, including health and wellbeing, education, employment and procurement.”

“We take a holistic and long-term approach to our work helping to empower local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and the Cyril Knox Art Prize will be an important part of this for years to come.”

“We’re grateful to the Knox family for their support and we look forward to sharing the fantastic entries with the local community.”

Les Knox added, “the Knox family are extremely happy that our father is being recognised for his art achievements, but also for his ongoing encouragement to other Aboriginal artists to continue to develop their artistic skills. Our father was a well-respected elder in the Narrabri and Toomelah communities and we think this year’s NAIDOC theme is fitting.”

“We’d like to thank Whitehaven and Narrabri Shire Council for this wonderful initiative.”

Artists can head to to enter and for further information about the Prize criteria. The link is also available on the Whitehaven website.

Entries open today and will close on Sunday 10th September 2023 at 5pm.

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