The 2020 Telstra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) has announced its line-up of finalists. Out of the 238 entries submitted by First Nations artists, 67 have been selected (see full list below).
As Australia’s longest running prize for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, NATSIAA plays an important role in supporting and showcasing the art of emerging and established Indigenous artists. This year features 11 emerging artists who have practiced for less than five years. With finalists from urban areas and remote communities across the nation, NATSIAA uplifts Indigenous voices, and showcases their art on a national and global scale.
“Whatever the style, whatever the medium, there is an extraordinary power and beauty in Indigenous art and given the times we are in, it gives us a chance to be inspired and helps us to see the world differently,” says Telstra CEO Andrew Penn.
The artists for this year were selected by Larrakia/Wadaman/Karajarri Curator Tina Baum, Wadjarri/Nhanda/Nyoongar Curator Glenn Iseger-Pilkington and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) Curator of Aboriginal Art and Material Culture Luke Scholes.
“It was incredibly reaffirming to see the unique ways people are telling stories, the ways people are reinventing traditional forms and materials and the generosity of our community in sharing the most personal, and often challenging stories, through their diverse practices,” says Baum.
NATSIAA is a celebration of the diversity and richness of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art practice. More significantly, it is an opportunity to connect and support Indigenous artists and art centres with a national audience. “Staying connected during this time of self-isolation is so important,” says Penn. “There is no better way to do so than through the medium of this incredible art.”
There will be no public event on the MAGNT lawns due to COVID-19. MAGNT are working with Telstra to try and reimagine the Telstra NATSIAA this year, and ensure that the artwork will still be accessible to a national audience.