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34th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards

Roundup

Our roundup of highlights from this year’s The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, Australia’s longest running and most prestigious Indigenous art award.

In partnership with Telstra, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) is currently exhibiting entries, providing an insight into the best in Indigenous art from across Australia.

23rd August, 2017

‘Opal Miners’ by David Frank, synthetic polymer paint on linen, which is a finalist in the General Painting Award category. Photo – courtesy of the artist and MAGNT.

‘Ngayuku Ngura (My Country)’ by Nyunmiti Burton, synthetic polymer paint on linen, which is a finalist in the General Painting Award category. Photo – courtesy of the artist and MAGNT.

‘Looking After Our Place’ by Beth Inkamala Mbitjana, terracotta and underglaze, which is a finalist in the Telstra Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award. Photo – courtesy of the artist and MAGNT.

‘Kakan’ by Delissa Walker, made of plant fibre, which is a finalist in the Telstra Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award category. Photo – courtesy of the artist and MAGNT.

‘Yukuwa’ by Djirrirra Wununmurra, earth pigments on Stringybark, is a finalist in the Telstra Bark Painting Award category. Photo – courtesy of the artist and MAGNT.

‘Matrilline – Yinaar – Old Girls of the South East’ by Penny Evans. Made from ceramics, raffia, wire, polypropulene, plastic and bamboo, which is a finalist in the Telstra Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award category. Photo – courtesy of the artist and MAGNT.

‘Mulipinini Amintiya Pwoja’ by Pedro Wonaeamirri, natural ochres on paper, which is a finalist in the Telstra Works on Paper Award category. Photo – courtesy of the artist and MAGNT.

‘Ininti’ by Pepai Jangala Carroll, stoneware clay with slip and underglazes, which is a finalist in the Telstra Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award category. Photo – courtesy of the artist and MAGNT.

‘Ngura Pilti’ by Matjangka (Nykana) Norris, synthetic polymer on linen, a Telstra General Painting Award finalist, and and ‘Lines’ by Nyapanyapa Yunupinu, earth pigments on Stringybark, a Telstra Bark Painting Award finalist. Photo – courtesy of the artist and MAGNT.

‘Two Virtues (Rrose)’ by Christian Thompson, C type print on Fuji pearl metallic paper, a Telstra Works on Paper Award finalist. Photo – courtesy of the artist and MAGNT.

‘Yalka (bush onion) Dreaming, Palm Valley’ by Hubert Pareroultja, watercolour on paper, a Telstra Works on Paper Award finalist. Photo – courtesy of the artist and MAGNT.

‘Boondhi – Murka (Shield and Club)’ by Andy Sneglar, hardwood, white pigment, emu oil and tree resin, a Telstra Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award finalist. Photo – courtesy of the artist and MAGNT.

The Telstra Art Award and Telstra Multimedia Award winner ‘Kulata Tjuta – Wati kulunypa tjukurpa (Many spears – Young fella story)’ by Anwar Young, Frank Young and Unrupa Rhonda Dick, digital print, wood, kangarri tendon and  kiti (natural glue). Photo – courtesy of the artist and MAGNT.

‘Yarrinya’ by Barayuwa  Munungurr, pigments on Stringybark, a Telstra Bark Painting Award finalist, and ‘Maralinga Story’ by Alec Baker, ink and gouache on paper, a Telstra Works on Paper Award finalist. Photo – courtesy of the artist and MAGNT.

Elle Murrell
Wednesday 23rd August 2017

Established in 1984, The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) has been providing a platform for the diverse practices of Indigenous artists for 34 years, while fostering a deeper understanding of Australian culture and society.

This year’s awards had 300 entries and 65 finalists. Winners were announced on August 11th, with prizes being adjudicated over by independent curator Emily McDaniel, Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art Director Chris Saines and artist Regina Wilson.

South Australian artists Anwar Young, Frank Young and Unrupa Rhonda Dick were the recipients of the top prize, the $50,000 Telstra Art Award, for their multimedia collaborative work ‘Kulata Tjuta – Wati kulunypa tjukurpa (‘Many spears – Young fella story’), which was considered by judges to be the most outstanding work across all six categories.

The winning artwork comprises 37 spears, digital prints, wood, kangaroo tendons and kiti (natural glue), and tells of the Anangu (Central Australian Aborigines). Speaking about this work the artists note: ‘We see many young men from remote communities becoming stuck in a cycle of reoffending and being locked up in juvenile detention centres, like Magill and Don Dale. We are concerned the whitefella way of locking people up isn’t working.’

The trio instead advocate for returning young men to the country to work with senior men, and help look after families and communities. Anwar and Unrupa have also been working with their grandfathers on this project, learning the traditional art of making kulata (spears).

In addition to the main award, each additional category winner was awarded a $5,000 prize. This year, two new categories were also added: The Telstra Multimedia Award, which allows multi-disciplinary artists to enter innovative and exciting works using digital content, and the Telstra Emerging Artist Award, which provides an avenue for artists in the first five years of their practice to gain widespread exposure and help launch their careers.

Telstra Art Award and Telstra Multimedia Award
(for multidisciplinary and digital works)
Anwar Young, Frank Young and Unrupa Rhonda Dick for ‘Kulata Tjuta – Wati kulunypa tjukurpa (Many spears – Young fella story)’.

Telstra General Painting Award
Matjangka (Nyukana) Norris for ‘Ngura Pilti’, her synthetic polymer paint on linen artwork.

Telstra Bark Painting Award
Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu for ‘Lines’, her earth pigments on Stringybark. We recently profiled the wonderful North-East Arnhem Land artist in our Indigenous Art column.

Telstra Works on Paper Award
(including photography, print making, drawing)
Robert Fielding for ‘Milkali Kutju (One Blood)’, his synthetic polymer paint and ink on burnt and pierced paper artwork.

Wandjuk Marika Memorial Three-Dimensional Award
(sponsored by Telstra)
Shirley Macnamara for her ‘Nyurruga Muulawaddi’, aged spinifex vessel.

Telstra Emerging Artist Award
Betty Muffler for ‘Ngangkari Ngura (Healing Country)’, her synthetic polymer paint on linen artwork.

​’34th Telstra NATSIAA’ Finalists Exhibition
August 11th to November 26th
The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
19 Conacher Street, The Gardens, Darwin

​All entries are currently on exhibit at MAGNT in Darwin. Visit the website for more information, judges’ comments, and to view all entries, here.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net