26th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award

26th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award

Exhibition dates: Friday 14 August - Sunday 25 October 2009

Opening: 6pm Friday 14 August 2009

Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory
Conacher Street, Fannie Bay, Darwin


View the exhibition online!

If you are not able to attend the exhibition at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, the virtual exhibition can be viewed online.

The virtual exhibition is available in two formats, in Flash and in HTML.

  • The Flash version contains video footage and is best suited to fast internet connections and for those who have Flash Player installed (Flash can be downloaded from the Adobe website).
  • The HTML version is best suited to slower internet connections and for those who do not have Flash Player installed.

The virtual exhibition contains all 93 preselected finalists and can be viewed in the four award categories.

Download for 2009

Award Winners

Major Prize Winner, Danie Mellor from Canberra has been awarded Australia’s prestigious Indigenous art prize – the national Telstra Art Award, at the 26th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award.

From Rite to Ritual explores the encounter and fragile co-existence between Indigenous and non-Indigenous, or settler cultures. In this case the meeting place is the interior of a Freemason’s lodge and the work highlights the importance of secret and public ceremony and initiation in both cultures; it speaks of the challenges of settlement, and the differences in spiritual enactment and belief.

The $4,000 Telstra General Painting Award was awarded to Yinarupa Nangala from Kiwirrkurra in Western Australia for her untitled work. Yinarupa’s painting depicts designs associated with the rockhole site of Mukala, east of Jupiter Well in Western Australia. 

The $4,000 Telstra Bark Painting Award was awarded to Rerrkirrwanga Munungurr from Wandawuy (East Arnhem Land) Northern Territory for her work Gumatj Gurtha. Rerrkirrwanga’s painting depicts her husband’s Gumatj clan designs of sacred fire. Rerrkirrwanga is the daughter of late Djapu clan elder Djutjadjuta Mununggurr, winner of the Telstra Bark Painting Award in the 14th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, 1997.

The $4,000 Telstra Works on Paper was awarded to Glen Namundja from Gubalanya (Western Arnhem Land) Northern Territory for his work Likkanaya and Marrayka. The artwork is a representation of the Yawkyawk Dreamtime story about two sisters travelling through the country where Ngalyod, the Rainbow Serpent swallowed them whole.

The $4,000 Wandjuk Marika Three-Dimensional Memorial Award, sponsored by Telstra, was awarded to Janine McAullay Bott from Perth for her work Dhalkatj – Bilby. Janine is a self-taught weaver whose work reflects her Noongar heritage as well as the animals and country of her ancestors.

The People’s Choice Award, was awarded to Samantha Hobson, for her work Wave Bust...Windy Night. The winning artist from Queensland has been a full time artist since 2000 when she held her first solo exhibition in Brisbane and has exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally.

The Online People’s Choice Award, was awarded to Shane Pickett for his work To stand in a run off fresh water stream. The winning artist describes himself as a painter of Nyoongar lands. Shane has exhibited in every State and Territory in Australia and has works in major private and public collections across the country.

NATSIAA Background

The Award was established in 1984 as the National Aboriginal Art Award by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. The aim of the Award is to recognise the important contribution made by Indigenous artists and to promote appreciation and understanding of the quality and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art from regional and urban based Indigenous artists throughout Australia, working in traditional and contemporary media. The Award is an important showcase for both established and emerging artists and has come to be regarded as one of the premier national events in the Australian Indigenous art calendar.

The Award attracts a range of Indigenous artists from all parts of the country and about 100 works are selected each year from around 300 entries. The diversity and style of work submitted each year reflects the changing face of contemporary Aboriginal art practice.

Telstra has sponsored the Award since 1992 and has continued to further enhance its profile and prestige. In 2000, Telstra doubled the First Prize money from $20,000 to $40,000 and in 2005 Telstra announced its ongoing support for the Award amounting to a total of over $1 million in sponsorship over the next five years.

In 2006, the Telstra First Prize was re-named the Telstra Award and all prizes became non-acquisitive.

The four categories in which prizes are awarded are:

  • the Telstra General Painting Award
  • the Telstra Bark Painting Award
  • the Telstra Work on Paper Award
  • the Wandjuk Marika 3D Memorial Award (sponsored by Telstra)

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Award Coordinator
Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory
GPO Box 4646
Darwin NT 0801
Phone: (08) 8999 8203 or (08) 8999 8264
Facsimile: 08 8999 8148