Applications for the Indigenous Ceramic Award 2022 open Wednesday 9 March

Applications for Shepparton Art Museum’s 2022 Indigenous Ceramic Award (ICA) will open on Wednesday 9 March. 

Established in 2007 under the patronage of renowned ceramicist, Dr Thancoupie Gloria Fletcher, the ICA is now Australia’s most prestigious national acquisitive award for ceramics made by Indigenous artists from around the country. 

Now in its seventh iteration, the ICA has increasingly attracted interest and participation from solo artists and collectives in both remote communities and urban centres. The award highlights new and exciting developments in ceramic practice and is renowned for advancing the recognition of Indigenous ceramics as a medium and showcasing the diverse contemporary ceramic practices of Indigenous artists from around Australia.

The major $20,000 acquisitive prize celebrates innovation in ceramic practice, much like its partner-award, the Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award, also hosted biennially at SAM. The ICA also includes a $5,000 South-East Australian Aboriginal Artist Prize, dedicated to local practice, and a $1,500 People’s Choice Award.

Applicants do not need to be primarily practising in the ceramic medium, though it is required that works being entered predominantly use materials associated with ceramic practice. Previous shortlisted artists have worked in traditional ceramic mediums, pushing the conceptual boundaries of the material, while others have expanded their practices by incorporating ceramics and associated materials.

Shepparton Art Museum’s Acting Artistic Director and Senior Curator, Shelley McSpedden is pleased to open the award once again to applicants around Australia. She says:

“This acquisitive award allows the Shepparton Art Museum the opportunity to celebrate contemporary Indigenous ceramics practice. Having skipped an iteration due to COVID-19, we are excited to finally be able to present the seventh edition of this significant award and bring ceramic works from across Australia to Shepparton.”

The selection panel and the judges for the award will be comprised of SAM’s Curator - Indigenous, and curator of the 2022 ICA, Belinda Briggs (Yorta Yorta) and senior Indigenous artists and arts industry representatives, ensuring artists know that their works will be assessed in a manner that is culturally safe. Briggs says that:

“The ICA celebrates the strong history of ceramics and relationship to clay in Indigenous cultural and artistic practice. In this seventh iteration we will be asking artists to submit completed works for consideration, in addition to supporting one artist to create a new body of work specifically for the exhibition. This new format allows us to showcase more artists’ work and to shine a light on how Indigenous artists from across Australia are working in the medium.”

Shortlisted finalists will be invited to present a body of new work as part of the ICA exhibition running 13 August – 04 December 2022. For the first time, SAM is commissioning an established artist working in the field to develop and present new work alongside the successful applicants. 

Accompanying the exhibition will be a series of public programs that will allow audiences deeper engagement with the works and the medium, through skill sharing and knowledge exchange. A full-colour exhibition catalogue will be produced and be available for purchase from the SAM Shop. 

Previous winners of the award include Janet Fieldhouse (2007, 2011), Danie Mellor (2009), Bankstown Koori Elders Group (2014), Gallery Kaiela Artists, Jack Anselmi and Aunty Cynthia Hardie (2016) and Yhonnie Scarce (2018).

Applications close on Friday 3 June. 


Important Dates

Wednesday 9 March 2022                                 Applications open

Friday 3 June 2022                                             Applications close

Friday 10 June 2022                                           Shortlisted artists advised

Saturday 13 August 2022                                   Exhibition opens

Saturday 1 October 2022                                   Saturday 1 2022                                                                                                                               Awards ceremony – announcement of                                                                                   prize winners

Saturday 1 – Sunday 2 October 2022             Community cultural showcase events


Previous winners

More information about previous winners, can be viewed here:

The 2022 ICA is generously supported by the Sir Andrew and Lady Fairley Foundation and Mr Allan Myers AC QC. The 2022 ICA publication is proudly supported by Philip Cornish AM and Caroline Cornish.

For media enquiries email Gabriella Calandro - 

For questions around eligibility or to discuss an application before submission, please email or call Belinda Briggs, SAM Curator – Indigenous on: 03 4804 5000