Works on bark and cowhide. Video, baskets and delicately crosshatched poles. Irreverent paintings and sketches showing people using iPads. The range of genres and styles at this year’s Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) in Darwin is as exciting an exhibition as it’s ever been.

Myrtle Pennington’s Mupulya munu Kanpa

Now in their 36th year, the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards have “bloomed in a way not seen for several seasons,” said The Australian. “A panel of experts that in 2016 began overhauling the selection process to bring more consistency to the shortlist of works has found its rhythm.” The result is a “cogently expressive” exhibition.

Luke Scholes, MAGNT’s Curator of Aboriginal Art and Material Culture, is one of that panel, and agrees that the revised selection process has led to exciting results.
“It really stretches back to three years ago now, where we reinstated a selection panel. What had been happening for probably 10 years previously, is that the judges appointed to select the winners every year were also in charge of selecting the...

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