I'm heading back to the top end. Darwin is again host to the Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards and this Friday evening we will see who is awarded top honours in the most prestigious Indigenous Art prize Australia has to offer.
Established by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in 1984, this is the official National Aboriginal Art Award. Regarded as one of the premier events in the art calendar, the Award is an important showcase for indigenous artists, both established and emerging.
There is a huge diversity of style in the work submitted each year which reflects the modern face of contemporary Aboriginal art. About 100 pieces are selected for the finals.
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)
The $40,000 first prize money whilst significant, runs second to the recognition and prestige gained by winning the event.
In 2006, the Telstra First Prize was re-named the Telstra Award and all prizes became non-acquisitive.
In 2008 Makinti Napanangka from Kintore in the Northern Territory won the Telstra award.