Award winning artist Warren H Williams will perform at the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT (MAGNT) this Friday, as part of the 29th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards opening night celebrations.

The winner of the prestigious $40,000 Telstra Art Award will be announced on the night, where the public will get the first glimpse of this year’s final selection of 63 Indigenous art works.

Telstra Art Award Coordinator and MAGNT Curator of Indigenous Art and Material Culture, John Waight, said the Awards are regarded as a premier national event in the Australian arts calendar, attracting visitors and artists from around the country.

This year’s opening celebrations will feature traditional dance performances from NT and WA dancers in celebration of the Association of Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists’ (ANKAAA) 25th anniversary.

The award winning Warren H Williams Band and Reggae Dave will also entertain guests throughout the night.

Entertainment starts at 5pm on the MAGNT lawns, with the official proceedings from 6pm and winners announced during the course of the evening.

The gallery will also open at 5pm, where the public will be invited to view the exhibition made up of paintings, three dimensional works, barks and works on paper Mr Waight said.

Telstra Group Managing Director Finance, Andrew Penn said Opening Night was a wonderful celebration of Indigenous art and culture.

Opening night of the Telstra Art Award is always a vibrant evening of music, dance and visual art celebrating the very best Indigenous artists in the country “ it’s a night not to be missed.

The exhibition will remain open for the public to enjoy until the 28th of October 2012 with artist talks, curator talks and workshops available to the public.

This year’s Telstra Art Award includes the major $40,000 Telstra Award and $4,000 individual category prizes including the Telstra General Painting Award; Telstra Bark Painting Award; Telstra Work on Paper Award and the Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award (also sponsored by Telstra).

The 29th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award exhibition will be featured through an online gallery www.nt.gov.au/natsiaa, which will offer users from around the world with an opportunity to view the exhibition and listen to recordings of the stories behind the artworks. The virtual gallery will be available to view from 6pm Friday, 10 August 2012.

The 29th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

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