Words: Rose of Sharon Leake
Yet another major art event succumbs to the consequences of Covid-19 outbreaks Australia-wide. The Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) – Australia’s first and longest running exhibition of its time, commencing in 1984 – has announced its 2021 award ceremony (usually held on the lawns of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, MAGNT) will move to an online only event to safeguard artist and visitor safety.
“The health and safety of the Telstra NATSIAA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and visitors is paramount,” said MAGNT Director Marcus Schutenko. “We have made the tough decision to make this year’s Telstra NATSIAA Awards Ceremony online only. I can assure you that the decision to cancel the event on the MAGNT lawns has not been taken lightly. We are committed to celebrate the winners online with the fanfare the artists deserve.”
While MAGNT is set to open the physical exhibition of NATSIAA finalists on Saturday 7 August 2021, organisers have also created an immersive Telstra NATSIAA Virtual Gallery which will go live online following the awards ceremony on Friday 6 August 2021 via natsiaa.com.
The Virtual Gallery will allow national and international audiences to experience the 65 artworks from some of Australia’s most talented emerging and distinguished Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
“Visitors can connect with this year’s powerful new works which interpret history, spark conversations, and celebrate culture and Country wherever they are in the world,” concludes Schutenko.
Following the success of the 2020 Telstra NATSIAA Virtual Gallery, there’s no doubt the 2021 presentation will pack a punch.
Read about the Telstra NATSIAA finalists here.
This article was originally published 8 July 2021.
Image: The 2020 Telstra NATSIAA Virtual Gallery. Courtesy: Telstra NATSIAA.