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With two brand new award categories, Australia's most prestigious and long running Indigenous art award is a star on the country’s cultural calendar that just keeps burning brighter.

Since its genesis in 1984, audiences, artists, collectors and curators have flocked to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) to immerse themselves in the best contemporary Indigenous art from the previous 12 months.

Luke Scholes, Curator of Aboriginal Art at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, says adding the Telstra Multimedia Award and the Telstra Emerging Artist Award this year is about reflecting and responding to contemporary artistic practice – an ongoing aspiration of NATSIAA.

“This year’s awards celebrate the poignant narratives that represent Australia’s unique Indigenous voices and we’re thrilled to see a new wave of artist submissions thanks to these new award categories,” says Scholes.

Scholes says the Multimedia Award, which includes photography, graphic design, film, audiotape and other digital content, was created due to the sheer number of entries that didn’t fit neatly into existing categories. 

He says the Multimedia finalists – an animation by Mervyn Street of Western Australia, and a family film collaboration from South Australia  – represent only a small portion of the breadth of entries received.

Likewise for the Emerging Artist category, which replaces the previous Youth Award. The category is now open to artists of all ages, in the first five years of their artistic career. 

“There is a large proportion of Aboriginal artists who begin their artistic careers later in life who we felt it’s important to include and acknowledge,” Scholes says. 

“Artists who were previously eligible for the Youth Award can still enter, but we can now include the great number of older emerging artists to gain exposure on a national stage and launch their career.”

Sat 12 Aug – Sun 29 Oct | Awards Night Fri 11 Aug, 6pm | Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

See the event listing. 

Image: Nyarapayi Giles, 'Warmurrungu' (detail), synthetic polymer paint on linen; 34th Telstra NATSIAA

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