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NATSIAA 2021 finalists show resilience of First Nations Australians

Rachael Knowles -

Please note: This story contains reference to someone who has died.

The Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) have announced its 2021 finalists.

Sixty-five First Nations artists have been selected out of the 248 registered entries into the 2021 competition.

The Awards, presented by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) in collaboration with Telstra, is the longest running Indigenous art award in the nation beginning in 1984.

2021 NATSIAA finalist Stanley Douglas. Photo supplied by Luke Byrne.

Of the 65 selected finalists, 35 hail from the Northern Territory, 14 from Western Australia, nine from South Australia, four from Queensland and three from New South Wales. There is just one entrant each from the Torres Strait and Victoria.

Fourteen of the selected artworks were created by emerging artists.

The selection panel for the awards consisted of Wadjarri, Nhanda and Nyoongar artist and former Telstra NATSIAA judge Glenn Iseger Pilkington, Gulumirrgin (Larrakia)/Wadaman and Karajarri woman and National Gallery of Australia curator Tina Baum, and Trawlwoolway artist and curator Julie Gough.

"2021 saw us reviewing a vast number of exceptionally high-quality works, which was incredibly encouraging given the challenges that artists have faced over the last 12 months â€" creating work during a pandemic that limited travel, delaying arrival of supplies and had people in a state of worry," the selection panel said.

"Receiving such a volume of great submissions made our job as a selection panel even more challenging.

"What we were left with after three days of deliberation, is a selection of work from across Australia that is testament to the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, artists, makers and custodians."

"It is always a challenge to select from such a large number of submissions, but also a great honour, and an opportunity to see works by artists we're not familiar with who are doing really interesting things creatively."

2021 NATSIAA finalist Timothy Cook. Photo by Will Heathcote, supplied courtesy of the artist, Jilamara Arts and Crafts.

MAGNT Director Marcus Schutenko congratulated the 2021 finalists and commended the panel for taking on a hard task.

"This year's artists will undoubtedly contribute to a high-impact exhibition with their breadth of artwork mediums and stories from urban and remote places in Australia," said Schutenko.

"We look forward to sharing this artwork with wide audiences via the physical and virtual exhibition experience with sincere thanks to Telstra, our longstanding partner."

This year, Telstra celebrates 30 years working alongside NATSIAA.

"I have seen firsthand these awards grow from strength to strength on a global scale and feel truly proud to be part of such an important event," Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said.

"The quality and scope of the work this year is exceptional. Whatever the style, whatever the medium, there is an extraordinary power and beauty in Indigenous art.

"I look forward to hearing the winners' announcement in August and seeing the exhibition in person this year."

Read the full list of 2021 NATSIAA finalists below:Â

New South Wales

Dennis Golding, Sydney

Thea Anamara Perkins, Sydney

Toby Cedar, Thornton

Northern Territory

Adrian Jangala Robertson, Alice Springs

Alycia Marrday, Gunbalanya

Charles Inkamala, Alice Springs

Denise Brady, Kaltukatjara

Dhambit Munuŋgurr, Gunyuŋara

Dhambit Waṉambi, Yirrkala

Dino Wilson, Milikapiti, Tiwi Islands

Djambawa Marawili, Yilpara

Djerrkŋu Yunupiŋu, Yirrkala

Djirrirra Wunuŋmurra, Yirrkala

Doris Bush, Papunya

George Tjungurrayi, Kintore

Glen Namundja, Gunbalanya

Hubert Pareroultja, Mpwarntwe

Ishmael Marika, Yirrkala

Karen Rogers, Ngukurr

Kaya Dhurumuḻ Munuŋgurr Yirrkala

Kaye Brown, Milikapiti, Tiwi Islands

Leon Russell (Cameron) Black, Darwin

Mario Walarmerpui, Pirlangimpi, Tiwi Islands

Mary Dhapalany, Ramingining

Ms M Wirrpanda (deceased), Yirrkala

Muluymuluy Wirrpanda, Yirrkala

Napuwarri Marawili, Yilpara

Noŋgirrŋa Marawili, Yirrkala

Patrick Freddy Puruntatameri, Milikapiti, Tiwi Islands

Pedro Wonaeamirri, Milikapiti, Tiwi Islands

Phillip Wilson, Nauiyu, Daly River

Rhonda Sharpe, Yarrenyty Arltere Town Camp, Alice Springs

Rona Rubuntja Panangka, Hermannsburg

Timothy Cook, Milikapiti, Tiwi Islands

Tjukapati James, Kaltukatjara

Wally Wilfred, Ngukurr

Wanapati Yunupiŋu, Yirrkala


Dylan Sarra, Brisbane

Elisa Jane Carmichael, Brisbane

Erub Arts Collective, Torres Strait

Kyra Mancktelow, Logan

South Australia

Angkaliya Curtis, Nyapari, APY Lands

Betty Chimney, Indulkana

Mary Pan, Amata

Peter Mungkuri, Indulkana

Sally Scales, Adelaide

Stanley Douglas, Amata

Tjunkaya Tapaya, Pukatja

Witjiti George, Fregon, APY Lands

Zaachariaha Fielding, Adelaide


Dr Christian Thompson, Melbourne

Western Australia

Ben Ward, Nganalam

Bobby West Tjupurrula, Kiwirrkura

Bugai Whyoulter, Kunawarritji

David Cox, Warmun Fred Grant, Tjuntjuntjara

Jane Cheedy, Roebourne

John Prince Siddon, Fitzroy Crossing

Katjarra Butler, Tjukurla

Ned Grant, Tjuntjuntjara

Nola Campbell, Wanarn

Nyangulya Katie Nalgood, South Hedland

Roma Butler, Irrunytju

Sonia Kurarra, Fitzroy Crossing

Timo Hogan, Tjuntjuntjara

By Rachael Knowles


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