The 23rd Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, open to all adult Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander artists, aims to showcase the very best Indigenous art from around the country.

The Telstra Award of $40,000 is awarded to the work considered by judges to be the most outstanding work in the exhibition. Additional prizes of $4,000 each are awarded in four media categories.

This year all prizes, the Telstra Award of $40,000 (previously the Telstra First Prize) and the four media category prizes of $4,000 each, are non-acquisitive. Until this year the $40,000 winning work was automatically acquired by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. The value of the Telstra Award has significantly increased since the creator of the winning work, in addition to receiving the $40,000 cash prize, will be able to gain further financial benefit from subsequent sale of the work.

The opening night of the Award is a major dry season event in Darwin and attracts visitors and artists from all over the country. The evening includes free entertainment from Indigenous traditional and contemporary performers in a classic tropical sunset setting on the lawns in the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory grounds. The event is free and includes entrance to the exhibition. All are invited to BYO food and drink.

The 2006 exhibition features 82 works in a wide range of themes, styles and media including paintings on bark, canvas and paper, prints, sculpture, fibre art, ceramics, glass, photography, digital media and video.