It was tough, but the judges of Australia’s biggest indigenous art award have culled more than 300 entries down to 96 pieces which will soon go on display at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

Indigenous artists from every state and territory in Australia will be represented in the Telstra Art Award exhibition.

Yesterday staff from the art gallery let the media have a peek at some of the selected entries which will go on display from August 13.

They included a sculptural work inspired by the traditional fire making tools used in the Girringun rainforests in North Queensland.

Eleven artists from the Girringun Arts group created Bagu with Jiman which is 14 figurines made from clay, timber and string which represent spirits who are the “Keepers of the Fire”.

Curator Kate Podger said the exhibition covered the entire spectrum of indigenous art from traditional bark paintings and works on paper to new media creations.

The exhibition will run until November 7.

The winner of the $40,000 Telstra Award will be announced after the exhibition is launched on August 13.