The West Australian celebrates Makinti Napanangka’s Telstra Art award:

Judge Hetti Perkins, from the Art Gallery of NSW, said the field of 117 entries in the Darwin-based award was strong despite the withdrawals.

We regret that the withdrawn works aren’t here to be seen and enjoyed but we totally respect and support the artists’ decision, Ms Perkins said. This is still an incredibly prestigious award for an artist to win.

Northern Territory central desert artist Makinti Napanangka was the overall winner of the $40,000 award with her untitled work depicting Lupulnga, a rockhole near Kintore, 530km west of Alice Springs.

Another judge, Aboriginal artist Judy Watson, described Napanangka’s work as spellbinding. Makinti’s work sings across a space, Ms Watson said. When you turn away, the colour follows you. It’s incredibly charged with life and an inner light. Makinti has always been a great colourist and this work is incredibly beautiful.

Napanangka, a Papunya Tula artist estimated to be in her late 70s, was too ill to travel to Darwin to accept the award, announced last night at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Makinti will take this win in her stride, said Papunya Tula Artists assistant manager Sarita Quinlivan. For a long time Makinti has been acknowledged in the Kintore community as the number one artist. Ms Quinlivan said Napanangka’s winning painting, in eye-catching hues of orange, cream, and lilac, told the story of ancestral women travelling across country to perform various ceremonies, with thick, layered lines representing the spun hairstring used in the making of ceremonial belts.