Painting inspired by the artist’s late brother wins $50k prize at top Indigenous art awards


Western Australian artist Ngarralja Tommy May has been topped the total winner at the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. 

The Wangkajunga and Walmajarri man the acquired a $50,000 dollars prize at the electronic-only event – the 1st time it has not been held in-person since launching 37 years in the past because of to coronavirus constraints. 

The successful artist was born in Yarrkurnja in the Good Sandy Desert and reported he works by using art as a way to teach, inspire and present his enjoy for state.

All 65 finalists have their get the job done on exhibit in Darwin.

Charlie Bliss/MAGNT

“The painting was encouraged by my late brother. I also painted it to convey to tales to the young generation,” he explained to SBS News.

“This do the job is ‘Wirrkanja’, it truly is the place where by I misplaced my brother, it’s jilji [sand dune] nation and flat place.

“You can find a jila [living spring waterhole] there. It’s not much from Kurtal, above two sand dunes, and in flood time the drinking water operates down the jilji. This is my region and my family’s country.”

Made from enamel paint and etchings on tin, the profitable artwork exhibits the flow of the jila, or living drinking water, that flows in that country just after the rain falls.

Kurtal is exactly where the artist’s brother was born.

Made from enamel paint and etchings on tin, the winning artwork shows the flow of the jila or living water that flow in that country after the rain falls.

The profitable artwork.

Merinda Campbell/MAGNT

This year, the ceremony at the Museum and Artwork Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin drew a small crowd with artists pressured to take their awards via video.

Of the finalists, winner of the multimedia award Siena Mayutu Wurmarri Stubbs was the only artist to show up at the celebration.

Ms Stubbs is from Yirrkala in the Northern Territory and designed a movie of her vacation to Japan soundtracked with a poem she wrote.

Siena Mayutu Wurmarri Stubbs was the only artist to attend the event she is from Yirrkala in the Northern Territory and made a video of her trip to Japan.

Siena Mayutu Wurmarri Stubbs was the only artist to attend the event.

Charlie Bliss/MAGNT

She mentioned the online video was a second of thought and reflection she experienced soon after a occupied overseas trip subsequent the death of her grandmother.

“This is truly these kinds of an amazing possibility to have this materialize at this phase in my lifetime. It really is very exclusive and it truly is just a commence, I guess,” she mentioned.

“1 of the motives I’ve blossomed creatively is for the reason that my spouse and children genuinely inspired me to be myself.

“My sister was a dancer, my brother was a musician, my mom was a backup singer for Yothu Yindi, my father is an art curator and my grandfather was a journalist. I sense like they nurtured me to do what I adore.”

The museum’s assistant curator for art Clare Armitage said a virtual gallery is a great way to allow people to access this rare and beautiful work.

The museum’s assistant curator for artwork, Clare Armitage.

Charlie Bliss/MAGNT

The electronic edition of the present is an initiative to assistance make the celebration extra available amid the pandemic. 

All 65 finalists have their function on show at the Museum and Artwork Gallery of the Northern Territory, and for the 1st time, a digital gallery is currently being utilized to exhibit the do the job to people across the world. 

The museum’s assistant curator for art, Clare Armitage, reported it is a excellent way to allow for men and women to see the scarce do the job, stating it is really been a silver lining to the pandemic.

Finalists include 25 from the NT, 16 from WA, 16 from SA and 8 from QLD, NSW, ACT and Victoria.

Finalists incorporate 25 from the Northern Territory.

Charlie Bliss/MAGNT

“One particular of the most exciting factors about acquiring the online display is pondering about how we may possibly be ready to do it for other exhibitions and continue on to make demonstrates far more obtainable,” she mentioned. 

Finalists consist of 25 from the Northern Territory, 16 from Western Australia, 16 from South Australia and 8 from Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Money Territory and Victoria.

Other winners include Adrian Jangala for the basic painting award, Marrnyula Munungurr for bark painting, Illuwanti Ken for the paper award, Jenna Lee for the 3D memorial award and Cecilia Umbagai for the rising artist award.



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