Buckle up, the finalists for this year’s Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards are out. Out of the 280 entries submitted by First Nations artists from regional and urban areas across Australia, 68 artists were selected (see the full list below).
As one of the most prestigious Indigenous Art prizes in the world, NATSIAA celebrates the works of established and emerging artists. These artists shed light on their culture and Country, using their incredible art practices as a source of inspiration and conversation. “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art continues to evolve, and Telstra NATSIAA continues to be the place to witness this shift in process” says Luke Scholes, MAGNT Curator of Aboriginal Art.
Mick Wikilyiri and daughter, Yaritji Young, are amongst this year’s finalists. Wikilyiri began painting in 2003 as a result of a men’s painting room that encouraged men to paint their stories. Wikilyiri and Young have a show together at Melbourne’s Alcaston Gallery in September.
South Australian born Betty Kuntiwa Pumani rose to recognition in the Australian contemporary art scene after winning both the 2015 and 2016 NATSIAA prize for General Painting. A lot of Pumani’s work depicts her mother’s Country of Antara; a ceremonial site scared for Anangu culture. Alcaston presents a solo show of Pumani’s work in June.
Sally M. Nangala Mulda’s distinct style explores the Indigenous experience in a brutally honest way, through bright and painterly imagery paired with cursive text. The artist’s work is currently in the prestigious The National 2019: New Australian Art exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. She has been a finalist in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards twice (in 2018 and 2012) and will also be featured in Adelaide’s TARNANTHI: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in October. Edwina Corlette Gallery will be holding Mulda’s solo exhibition from June 27.
Experimental and historical photographer James Tylor examines Australian cultural representations, with work largely focussing on the effect colonisation has had on present day issues around cultural identity. With an impressive collection of work, Tylor has attained many a prize, including being a finalist in the 2016 and 2014 NATSIAA. Tylor’s forthcoming solo exhibition Boys Will Be Boys is presented at Vivien Anderson Gallery from July 18.
Winner of the 2018 Sir John Sulman Prize at AGNSW, Kaylene Whiskey portrays everyday sightings to images from pop culture in elaborate, colourful paintings that combine with her personal life in rural Australia. Whiskey will be exhibiting work at Sydney’s Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery alongside two-time Archibald prize winner, Del Kathryn Barton, in September/October this year.
Known for her rich organic bark paintings and larrakitj, Nonggirrnga Marawili’s work reflects her culture and history. Winner of the Bark Painting Award at the NATSIAA in 2015, Marawili is once again a finalist in this year’s prize. Opening early May, Sea Change Tree Change Changing Together showcases Marawili’s work in the group exhibition at Melbourne’s Alcaston Gallery.
A finalist yet again, after taking out the top NATSIAA prize last year, Gunybi Ganambarr’s works reflect the inner workings of his mind, and often explores the steady dissolution of Aboriginal land rights.
Winners of the 36th Telstra NATSIAA awards are announced on Friday 9 August 2019 at a ceremony held on the sweeping lawns outside the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
Image: Installation view of the 35TH NATSIAA Exhibition, MAGNT, Darwin, 2018. Courtesy: MAGNT. Photo: Merinda Campbell