Master Arnhem Land artist Margaret Rarru Garrawurra wins top prize in 2022 NATSIAA’s sweeping woven sail

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

Women sit next to a large woven artwork.
Margaret Rarru Garrawurra with her winning work.(ABC News: Pete Garnish)

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.

A photo of an orange and black woven sail

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

An intricate painting of white markings scribbled across a black canvas.
Ngangkari Ngura, by Betty Muffler.(Supplied: MAGNT)

Indulkana artist Betty Muffler won the General Painting Award with a piece titled Ngangkari Ngura (Healing Country).

Bark Painting Award

A woman stands next to a bark painting with cream-colored figures of water spirits and a red-pink sea.
Yirrkala elder Meriki Ganambarr-Stubbs with the late D Yunupingu’s winning work YunupiƋu -The Rock.(Supplied: MAGNT)
wider d yunupingu work
D Yunupingu’s work among other finalists.(Supplied: MAGNT)

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

A black and white photo of a man, with a collage of flowers edited in the background.
Detail of Gary Lee’s winning piece for Works on Paper Award, titled Nagi.(Supplied: MAGNT)
A man sitting in front of a black and white portrait and handing on a wall in a gallery.  He wears a pearl necklace.

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

Two elderly women in an art gallery, sitting in front of a large woven fish trap hanging behind them.
Bonnie Burangarra and Freda Ali Wayartja with their work that won the Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award.
A photo of the inside of a woven basket.
A large cylindrical thatched work of art hanging from the ceiling of an art gallery.

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.

Multimedia price

artwork by Jimmy Thaiday
A still from Jimmy Thaiday’s winning work for the Multimedia Award, entitled Beyond the Lines.(Supplied: MAGNT)
Three people sit on a couch and watch a video on a big screen, in a dark room in an art gallery.

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

On a black wall, a radiant woman hung with her hands on her hips in front of a large work of art.
Louise Malarvie with her winning work.(Supplied: MAGNT)

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.

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