A sweeping, large-scale woven sail, once used on fishing boats between Arnhem Land and Indonesia prior to colonization, has won first prize at the prestigious National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.
Six other artists have won category awards, including bark paintings and multimedia works, chosen from 63 finalists from more than 200 entries.
This year, the NATSIAAs became the richest art prize in the country, with a total prize pool of $190,000 and the top prize doubling to $100,000.
These are the winners.
Telstra Art Award
This year’s top prize went to senior Yolngu artist Margaret Rarru Garrawurra for Dhomala (pandanus sail).
Ms Garrawurra, who lives in Milingimbi in northeast Arnhem Land, has recreated the type of sail used in Macassan fishing by boats that traded with Yolngu in northeast Arnhem Land before colonization.
The weaving style used in the piece was taught to her by her father, who was taught by his father.
The work contains the rich black plant dye that Mrs. Garrawurra has become known for, which she collects and prepares herself.
Friend and sister Helen Ganalmirriwuy, who helped interpreters for Ms Garrawurra, said that of all the mediums her sister works in, weaving is “her favorite in her heart”.
General Painting Price
Indulkana artist Betty Muffler won the General Painting Award with a piece titled Ngangkari Ngura (Healing Country).
Bark Painting Award
The Bark Painting Award this year recognized a work titled Yunupingu (the rock) by D Yunupingu of Yirrkala, who died in 2021.
Works on Paper Award
Larrakia man Gary Lee, of Garramilla/Darwin, won the Works on Paper Award with a pastel, pencil and digital print titled nagi.
Wall yoke Marika Memorial 3D Award
A collaborative work by Bonnie Burangarra and Freda Ali Wayartja from Yilan in the Northern Territory won this year’s Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award. The work is titled An-gujechiya.
A video work by Jimmy John Thaiday of Erub in Torres Strait, entitled Beyond the lineswon the Multimedia Award this year.
Award for Emerging Artists
The Emerging Artist Award, given to an artist in the first five years of his practice, this year went to Louise Malarvie of Kununurra, for a work entitled Pamarr Yara.