Entries open today for the 2017 34th Telstra NATSIAAs. And 2017 offers opportunities to a new generation of artists with the creation of two NEW categories in the Awards. Entries close on Friday 17 March, 2017.

The new Telstra Multimedia Award will allow multi-disciplinary artists the opportunity to enter innovative and exciting works that use digital content. If you recall, this year’s NATSIAAs saw Nicole Monks winning the Wandjuk Marika 3D Art Award with her multi-media/performance work,˜We are all Animals’ in competition with sculptures, Pukumani poles etc.

Also new, the Telstra Emerging Artist Award has evolved from the Telstra Youth Award in order to provide a tangible opportunity for artists in the first few years of their practice to gain exposure on a national stage and launch their career. I seem to recall a certain Sally Gabori ’emerging’ as an artist in the old Xstrata Award in Queensland at the ripe young age of 81!

The Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards are Australia’s longest running and most prestigious Indigenous art competition. Now firmly established as a critical event on Australia’s cultural calendar, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) with Telstra deliver this unique annual event to showcase the best in Indigenous art from across the country. The exhibition attracts an audience of more than 65,000 visitors year on year, plus many more online.

Telstra CEO, Andrew Penn “ himself a collector of Indigenous art – says Telstra has had the privilege of supporting the NATSIAAs for more than 25 years with its partnership with the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT. This is one of our most treasured partnerships because it connects more Australians with the powerful and important stories of Indigenous peoples.

The categories for the 34th Telstra NATSIAA are:
·         Telstra Art Award – $50,000
·         Telstra General Painting Award – $5,000
·         Telstra Bark Painting Award – $5,000
·         Telstra Work on Paper Award – $5,000
·         Wandjuk Marika 3D Memorial Award (also sponsored by Telstra) – $5,000
·         NEW Telstra Multimedia Award – $5,000
·         NEW Emerging Artists Award – $5,000 (evolved from the Telstra Youth Award)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists can submit one original work that has not been previously exhibited or made available for sale and be eligible to be awarded with prize money up to $50,000. Finalists’ works will be exhibited at MAGNT from Friday, 11 August, 2017, when seven winners (one overall and six category winners) will be announced at a special awards ceremony in the evening.

Ah, but will the ceremony be beside the sea at the old Museum, or in town at the new Art Museum? No word yet.

Meanwhile, the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair is proud to announce the introduction of the CIAF Art Awards. In 2017, all exhibitors within the Art Fair space at the Cruise Liner Terminal 3 on the waterfront will be eligible for the inaugural CIAF Art Awards. The awards will have several categories: Emerging, Excellence, Innovation, Art Centre Award and People’s Choice.

Prize money is as follows:
$5,000 prize awarded to an artist who identifies as emerging
$15,000 prize awarded to the artist for most outstanding work.
$10,000 prize awarded to the artist that presents an innovative experience through
medium, narrative or practice .
$10,000 prize awarded to most outstanding response to the CIAF annual theme
for the Art Fair, by a Queensland Indigenous Art Centre. The 2017 Theme is yet to be announced.
$5,000 prize awarded to the artist whose work receives the most votes by the
general public attending CIAF. Sponsored by Fibre Optics NQ.

The annual CIAF Art Awards are open to all Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists who have works exhibited within the Art Fair; including works represented by Galleries, Art Centres, collectives and guest and independent artists. The award has no application process.

The 2017 CIAF Art Awards will be judged by an independent panel of three esteemed judges, and will be announced on Thursday 13th July, 2017.The Fair continues until 17thJuly.

Over in the West, a dedicated new Indigenous Gallery opens on 29th July at this busy time of year for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art lovers. It will go by the name, ‘Six Seasons’, which “conveys that the Art Gallery of WA aims to cover all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art (the name refers to the Noongar six seasons) and take a holistic view in step with the natural cycle which is at the heart of Indigenous culture”. The new gallery will be accompanied by the digitising of the Art Gallery of WA’s complete Indigenous collection.

However, the press release announcing the developments fails to make any mention of the scheduled 2017 WA Indigenous Art Awards “ which may not get the publicity associated with both the NATSIAAs and CIAF, but which have a valid place in the national art scene. This is a worry, and, under questioning, the Gallery has admitted:

“The current cycle of Awards has concluded and the Gallery is re-imagining the model. Going triennial, the proposal is to build on the WAIAA’s unique and successful footprint, rebranded as a ˜National Contemporary Indigenous Art Prize’, expanding the opportunity to engage and ground it more fully within local Noongar art practice through an aligned Noongar Curatorial Traineeship program.
Launched in 2018 and presented in 2019 the triennial will follow on from the major 2018 Desert River Sea Kimberley Then and Now exhibition becoming a key component of the Gallery’s Indigenous program”.

Despite the ‘National’ in the title of the new Art Prize, it would seem that a degree of Noongar localisation is occurring in Perth which may have a tendency to exclude the riches of the Pilbara and Kimberley from both presentation and curatorial training – let alone benchmarking the West against the rest of Indigenous Australia. All a bit reminiscent of Victoria’s exclusive Melbourne Music Prize!

Url: http://www.magnt.net.au; http://www.ciaf.com.au