'Papa Tjukurpa' and 'Pukara' (acrylic on canvas 180 x 200) - the winning entry by Mr Donegan in the 2010 NATSIA Awards

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 11.03.11

Gallery: Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
Dates: 11.08.00

The National Gallery in Canberra has just announced that its important National Indigenous Art Triennial - due to open in April - has been postponed as a result of budget pressures. These relate particularly to the notorious Federal Government efficiency dividend which theoretically only takes back 1.25% each year from an organisation's budget, but, cumulatively, adds up to a 20% impost over 5 years. The NGA has also only recently opened its grand new indigenous galleries (last October), and so argues that the demand for more indigenous art is more limited this year than it will be next - when curator Franchesca Cubillo does hope to mount the Triennial.

But some things just keep rolling on. It's the final week for artists, galleries and art centres to enter Australia’s oldest Indigenous art prize - the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award.

Entries are already rolling in for the 28th such annual event next August. But the closing date for entries is Friday 18 March. The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) Curator of Indigenous Art and Material Culture, Dr Christiane Keller will be in charge of her first Telstra Prize after her recent appointment from the Adelhauser Museum in Germany.

“The Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award is unique in that it’s open to all Indigenous artists across the country,” Dr Keller said. “It also offers artists a fantastic opportunity to have their work showcased among the best in contemporary Indigenous art when the exhibition is held in Darwin from Thursday, 11 August 2011. Last year’s winner, 70 year-old Mr Donegan, of Ninuku Arts in the Kalka community in SA, had never entered an art award before taking home the $40,000 top prize for his magnificent work Papa Tjukurpa, Pukara".

Dr Keller is particularly looking forward to seeing more entries coming in for the New Media category in 2011, which has become a permanent inclusion in the Award following the success of last year’s inaugural Telstra New Media Award, won by Nawarapu Wunungmurra from Yirrkala.

Award Ambassador Kate McKenzie said Telstra is encouraging all Indigenous artists to submit their work for the Awards. “The call for entries is an exciting time of the year when we discover ground-breaking works from experienced artists as well as emerging new talent. The Telstra Art Awards draw the best contemporary Indigenous art from all corners of Australia,” Ms McKenzie added.

The Telstra Art Award comprises the $40,000 Telstra Award and the following five categories:
• Telstra General Painting Award $4,000
• Telstra Bark Painting Award $4,000
• Telstra Work on Paper Award $4,000
• Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award (also sponsored by Telstra) $4,000
• Telstra New Media Award $4,000
For an entry form, please contact the Award Coordinator at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, GPO Box 4646, DARWIN NT 0801, phone 08 8999 8203, or email


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Contact Details

Gallery: Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
Contact: Marcus Schutenko
Telephone: +61 8 8999 8264
Address: 19 Conacher Street Fanny Bay 0820 NT



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