• Two patrons at the 33rd NATSIAAs, 2016 (Carla Orsatti)Source: Carla Orsatti
One of the most coveted and the longest running Indigenous art awards have reimagined their awards ceremony and exhibition for the first time in the awards history.
Emily Nicol

29 Jul 2020 - 10:29 AM  UPDATED 29 Jul 2020 - 10:30 AM

On Friday 7th August the 65 Telstra NATSIAA artist finalists will gather virtually to find out if they have been awarded one of the country's most prestigious art awards. Hosted by TV Presenter and Gamilaroi woman Brooke Boney, the ceremony will announce winners of several categories, awarding $80,000 in prize money.

“Just as we have done throughout our enduring partnership, MAGNT has collaborated with Telstra on these nationally significant awards recognising contemporary Indigenous artists." said MAGNT Director Marcus Schutenko in a media release. 

"The coronavirus pandemic has posed challenges but our commitment to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artistic practice continues to be unwavering."

"It is essential to share the breadth of artwork, rich culture and heritage with all Australians. I thank the artists and the art centres for their flexibility as we deliver a brand new online Awards Ceremony and dynamic virtual exhibition not to be missed."

This years finalists come from across the remote and urban centres of the country and include a mix of emerging and established artists who have presented works in a variety of mediums. Established in the early 1980's, when the commercial interest in Aboriginal art was beginning to develop, the awards have been instrumental in charting trends and highlighting artists at different stages of their career and art practice.

Awards categories to be handed out on the night include the major Telstra Art Award, Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award (Sponsored by Telstra), the Telstra Multimedia Award and Telstra Emerging Artist Award.

Lauren Moss, NT Government Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, said the Awards are an important chance to recognise the talent of Aboriginal artists and this new format will reach an even bigger audience.

“The Awards provide a platform for Indigenous artists to share their talents and culture through contemporary art to a growing, and now online audience. Each year, this exhibition captures the attention of not only the local community but of the nation, bringing together exceptionally beautiful and inspiring work from some of this country’s best emerging and established artists." Moss said.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said in a statement that each year the NATSIAA's deliver something new and exciting in the experience of Indigenous art and in 2020 this will be no different. “The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the critical importance of telecommunications networks and connected technologies and so I am particularly excited that Telstra NATSIAA will be announced online and will include a new virtual gallery. This will allow more Australians to experience the exhibition than ever before and I look forward to visiting the site as soon as it comes online.” he said

Watch the live virtual awards ceremony on the website www.natsiaa.com.au on Friday 7 August, 6pm AEST (5.30pm CST) The ceremony will be available on-demand thereafter.