Indigenous artist notches up posthumous win for depicting Aboriginal man’s metamorphosis.

This year’s Blake Prize has been awarded posthumously to Indigenous artist Trevor Nickolls for his painting Metamorphosis. The 2012 artwork depicts an Aboriginal man who has been transformed into a “mimi spirit butterfly” as part of his journey to the spiritual realm.

“I have included elements that are both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal – like the peace doves on each side of the Aboriginal man – which are Christian,” Nickolls said of the painting. “This represents me – I am Aboriginal and also have other ancestry and was brought up Christian. In a number of my works I have tried to capture the spiritual connection Aboriginal people have to the physical world around them, the land, sea, animals and cosmos…. everything is interconnected in this world.”

The painting was completed shortly before the artist’s death last year. Friends of Nickolls say it had been his wish to be featured in the Blake Prize exhibition for several years. Estate Executor and friend of Nickolls, Angelika Tyrone, said: “Trevor was influenced by William Blake and valued the Blake Prize. The inclusion of his painting at this time also makes sense as spirituality...