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Margaret Rarru Garrawurra’s woven magic

Margaret Rarru Garrawurra’s woven magic

Margaret Rarru Garrawurra’s woven magic

Jimmy John Thaiday, Beyond the lines, 2022 NATSIAA

The Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards winners have been announced for the 2022 exhibition.

Margaret Rarru Garrawurra, Senior Yolŋu artist from Laŋarra, Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory is the prestigious 2022 Telstra Art Award $100,000 prize winner with Dhomala (pandanus sail) 2022.

“I was with my sisters when I found out about winning. We were very happy. It makes us proud to get first prize. This is a Makassan dhomala (sail). Yolŋu people were watching Makassan people weaving their dhomala over time … then they started to make them,” says Margaret Rarru Garrawurra.

Telstra NATSIAA awards 2022 - Margaret Rarru Garrawurra, Dhomala
Margaret Rarru Garrawurra, Dhomala, NATSIAA 2022

“Congratulations to master weaver, Margaret Rarru Garrawurra for winning this coveted award. I was captivated by how she has transformed her knowledge of Yolŋu weaving into this iconic Makassan design typology,” says Adam Worrall, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) Director.

Telstra NATSIAA awards 2022 - Ms D. Yunupiŋu, Yunupiŋu – The Rock
Ms D. Yunupiŋu, Yunupiŋu – The Rock, NATSIAA 2022

Other winners include:

  • The Telstra Bark Painting Award was received by Ms D Yunupiŋu, Yunupiŋu – The Rock 2021 Yirrkala, NT
  • The Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award (sponsored by Telstra) went to Bonnie Burangarra and Freda Ali Wayartja, An-gujechiya 2021 Yilan, NT
  • The Telstra Multimedia Award went to Jimmy John Thaiday, Beyond the lines 2022, Erub, Torres Strait, QLD
  • The Telstra Emerging Artist Award went to Louise Malarvie, Pamarr Yara 2022, Kununurra, WA
  • The Telstra Works on Paper Award was received by Gary Lee – Nagi, 2022, Garramilla / Darwin, NT
  • The Telstra General Painting Award went to Betty Muffler Ngangkari Ngura (Healing Country) 2021, Indulkana, SA

Telstra NATSIAA awards 2022 - Bonnie Burangarra and Freda Ali Wayartja, An-gujechiya
Bonnie Burangarra and Freda Ali Wayartja, An-gujechiya, NATSIAA 2022

Now the richest art prize in Australia the 2022 Telstra NATSIAA is attracting unprecedented talent with 63 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists declared finalists. 33 finalists are from the Northern Territory with 12 from Western Australia, 11 from South Australia, six from Queensland including one Torres Strait Islander artist and one Victorian artist were also selected.

Moreover, the selection panel is exceptional with Wadjarri, Nhanda and Nyoongar man, artist, and Fremantle Arts Centre Curator Glenn Iseger-Pilkington; joining Gulumirrgin (Larrakia), Wadaman, and Karajarri woman and National Gallery of Australia Curator Tina Baum; and Arabana, Mualgal, and Wuthathi woman and MAGNT Curator Rebekah Raymond.

Bonnie and Freda, image courtesy MAGNT, by Charlie Bliss

“2022 saw us reviewing a vast number of exceptional works, which was incredibly encouraging given the challenges that artists and communities have faced over the last 12 months. We commend all of the artists who have managed to create work during the continuing pandemic, the recent flooding and severe weather events, and the countless challenges faced as individuals, families and communities,” says the selection panel.

“Receiving such a volume of great submissions made our job as a selection panel even more difficult. What we were left with after three days of deliberation, is a selection of work from across this continent that is a testament to the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, makers, custodians, and communities. It is a great honour to select from such a large number of submissions and celebrate each artist’s unique practice.”

Margarat Rarru Garrawurra. Image courtesy MAGNT, taken by Charlie Bliss

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Gillian Serisier

Gillian Serisier is an editor-at-large for Indesign Media Asia Pacific, where she covers all corners of design and art across the Habitus and Indesign network. Gillian has contributed to many outstanding publications, and her extensive knowledge and sharp words make for compelling storytelling.