An artwork based on a police shooting in Sydney has become the first photographic work to win the first prize in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award.
We Can Be Heroes is a series of photographs of young Aboriginal boys staring at the camera, defiant and proud, with red targets on their chests.
Artist Tony Albert said he made the work after Sydney police shot two Aboriginal teenagers who drove into a Kings Cross footpath in April 2012.
At the announcement of the $50,000 award at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin, he said young Aboriginal men were targets for prejudice.
"We are kind of walking targets in society, whether that be through police violence or brutality, or being followed around in shops," he said.
"It even transfers to things like the intervention in the Northern Territory, where without naming anyone or anyone imprisoned, there was blanket statements about men being paedophiles and women-bashers.
"It was a really hard time for us as men."*Empowering young Indigenous men*
The young men in the photographs are from a school in the Sutherland shire in Sydney.
Albert said he wanted his work to show men they do not have to accept the labels society puts on them.
"Working with the young boys was a great opportunity to show them what I'm doing, and that I don't let a target stand in the way of where I am going," he said.
The judges said they were looking for artwork that pushed boundaries.
"All of us were thinking that it's time to make a statement." judge David Broker said.
"It will speak to a lot of people... everyone knows this idea of being singled out somehow, whether it's through bullying, whether it's because you're different from somebody.
"I think that's why it is such an important work."*Painting award*
West Australian artist Daniel Walbidi won the Painting Award for his representation of a salt lake near the Canning Stock Route, special to his people.
"I actually flew over this place, and this is what I saw," Walbidi said.
"The salt lake was shimmering when the sun was shining upon it."
It was the first time Walbidi had won at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, or NATSIAA, often referred to as the Telstra's, after the major sponsor.
"It is pretty good to be recognised and acknowledged, especially the Telstra's, because I've been part of the Telstra's for many years," he said.
"I've been selected, but to actually a win an award is really good."*New directions *
The theme of the 31st National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards is New Directions.
That included a new category - the Youth Award.
The first-ever winner was 20-year-old artist Kieran Karritpul from Nauiyu community at Daly River, near Darwin.
Mr Karritpul hoped to inspire other young people to stay away from drugs and alcohol.
"I see other young people my age getting into trouble because of alcohol and drugs and hope that they see my success and all the good things I am doing with my art, and realise they could be just like me if they took the time and made different choices," he said.
"It keeps me proud to do painting, and be out there in the wider world, maybe my art might go overseas one day."
The Bark Painting Award went to Northern Territory Artist Garawan Wanambi for his work Marrangu.
The Work on Paper winner was Nici Cumpston for Scar Tree, Barkindji Country, and the Three-Dimensional Award went to Alick Tipoti for Kaygasiw Usul.