The names of the finalists for this year’s 35th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) were announced in April. However, we won’t know what their work looks like until the exhibition opens its doors in Darwin on August 10, and the prizes in the seven categories are announced.

Luke Scholes, Curator of Aboriginal Art at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT), which runs the Awards, is excited at the calibre of work though. “There is a sense of innovation in so many of this year’s entries, and a feeling that artists are striving to find new ways to communicate their knowledge of, and relationships with, country. This has led to a surge in entries in the Multimedia category and artists are experimenting with unfamiliar mediums. The Telstra NATSIAA continues to attract an eclectic range of works from artists across Australia, from artists at all stages of their career,” says Scholes.

Originally called The National Aboriginal Art Award, NATSIAA, as it now known, was founded in 1984, with Telstra coming on board as the major sponsor in 1992. It remains the country’s most long-standing, prestigious prize for Australian Indigenous art, profiling the enormous changes...

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