NATSIAA Awards Winner

Multimedia artwork wins 2017 Telstra Indigenous Art Award for the first time

South Australian artists Anwar Young, Frank Young and Unrupa Rhonda Dick have won the overall prize at the 2017 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA), Australia’s most prestigious Indigenous art prize.

Their multimedia collaborative work, Kulata Tjuta - Wati kulunypa tjukurpa (Many spears - Young fella story), was selected as the overall winner of the 34th Telstra NATSIAA from 300 entries and 65 finalists.

The winning artwork tells of the ‘Anangu (Central Australian Aborigines)’. Speaking about this work the artists note, “We see many young men from remote communities becoming stuck in a cycle of reoffending and being locked up in juvenile detention centres, like Magill and Don Dale. We are concerned the whitefella way of locking people up isn’t working.”

The piece was inspired by Anwar Young’s grandfather, Frank Young, who believes that these young men should be brought back to the country to work with senior men to help look after families and communities. Anwar Young and Unrupa Rhonda Dick, with other young men from Amata have been working with their grandfathers on the Kulata Tjuta project, learning to make kulata (spears) in the traditional way.

The winning work was selected by an experienced judging panel consisting of curator Emily McDaniel, Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art Director Chris Saines and artist Regina Wilson.

The judging panel commented, “Kulata Tjuta is a measured and considered response to an inherently complex and contested subject. The incarceration of young Aboriginal men affects families and entire communities. The Kulata (spears) are suspended in a cell-like formation but they also function to protect a young man who looks not to us but to the future. The image is watermarked with cultural designs and the text in language has a sense of urgency and immediacy – words written, erased, edited. This work is a solemn and dignified call to action – to bring young Aboriginal men back to culture, language and country.”

Other award winners:

·         Emerging Artist, Betty Muffler – Ngangkari Ngura (Healing Country)

·         General Painting Award, Matjangka (Nyukana) Norris – Pitjantjatara, Ngura Pilti

·         Bark Painting Award, Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu – Lines

·         Work on Paper Award, Robert Fielding, Milkali Kutju – One blood

·         Wandjuk Marika Memorial Three-Dimensional Award, Shirley Macnamara – Nyurruga Muulawaddi


You can see all the finalists here.