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Karrabing Film Collective winner of the 2021 Eye Art & Film Prize

The Karrabing Film Collective has been named the winner of the Eye Art & Film Prize 2021. With the Eye Art & Film Prize of £25,000, the artist – in this case the collective - can release new work.

By Mariska Graveland01 April 2021

Karrabing Film Collective, Wutharr Salwater Dreams (2016)
Karrabing Film Collective, Wutharr Salwater Dreams (2016)

Founded in 2008 and based in the Northern Territories of Australia, the Karrabing Film Collective is an indigenous media group with approximately thirty members, who see their work as a form of grassroots activism.

According to Cecilia Lewis, Rex Edmunds, and Linda Yarrowin, among the founding members of Karrabing Film Collective, the idea behind Karrabing is: “keeping members' own lands strong by keeping the family, environments and totemic relations that created their lands stronger.”

Improvisational realism

In the Emmiyengal language, the word “karrabing” means “low tide” - referencing a form of collectivity outside of government-imposed strictures of clanship or land ownership. The Karrabing Film Collective have approached their films and installations using a variety of styles; developing local artistic language that represents their lives and their bonds with their land. Based on “improvisational realism” their stories open a space beyond binaries of the fictional and the documentary, the past and the present.

Their works have been screened in institutional, academic and cultural settings worldwide, including Tate Modern (London), Jakarta Biennale (Jakarta), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Gwangju Biennale (Gwangju), Shanghai Biennale (Shanghai), the Sydney Biennale, the Berlinale, and MoMA PS1(New York City). One of their most recent works is titled The Family, a cross-artforms project under development as part of Back to Earth project. The ultimate goal of the project is the creation of a cultural heritage area.

Karrabing Film Collective, Graffiti Dreaming. Courtesy of the artists.
Karrabing Film Collective, Graffiti Dreaming. Courtesy of the artists.

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