Aboriginal art vanguard works will fill the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin, Australia from the evening of the 14th of August. About 100 Indigenous artworks, deemed appropriate, representative and deserving of merit as pre-selected finalists, will be showcased collectively for more than two months. This is the 2009 celebration of Australian Indigenous art known as the 26th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award (NATSIAA).
According to New Age interpretation, these works could be seen as analogous to a sea of fluttering prayer flags to foster healing of the planet and peace on earth. Beauty and symbolic affirmations of the spirit surely help to bring positive power to bear on some of the divisive and destructive forces within the human organism.
Artists on our Top Aboriginal Artists
list have been winners of the Telstra Art Award in recent years. Last year, Makinti Napanangka
, a Papunya Tula artist from Kintore in the Northern territory, won the award with an acrylic painting on linen titled “Lupulnga”. This vibrant work depicts Dreamings associated with a bush rockhole - one involving the peewee (a small bird) and another one about two travelling women.
The winning artist of the ‘Works on Paper’ Media Category in 2008, was the overall winner in 2007 with an outstanding bronze casting over three-and-a-half metres in length entitled “Ubirikubiri”. The sculpture is of a crocodile with a man on its back and is based on a morality legend from Papua New Guinea about caring for animals taken from their natural environment. The artist is Dennis Nona from Badu Island in Torres Strait, which lies between the southern coast of Papua New Guinea and the northern tip of the Australian state of Queensland. This brilliant piece, which also includes pearlshell inlays, now stands in the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.
Maybe this year’s Telstra Art Award winner will be one of the King sisters or one of the Numina sisters or one of the emerging Utopian artists, such as Abie Loy Kemarre, Bessie Purvis Petyarre, Teresa Purla or Janet Golder Kngwarreye. We cannot discount the possibility of the winner being Narabri Nakamarra, daughter of Makinti Napanangka, last year’s winner. Possibly the medium will not be a painting. Emerging Indigenous artists are now creating batiks, jewellery, videos, lino prints, ceramics, wood carvings and woven art.
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