South Australian artist Nyunmiti Burton has claimed this year’s 2020 Telstra NATSIAA People’s Choice Award for her popular painting, ‘Ngayuku Ngura’.
Visitors to the 2020 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards exhibition at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin voted for their favourite work, with voting also extended to its online gallery.
Ms Burton released a statement on Thursday, which thanked those who had voted for her artwork and said that the award made for a “good story”.
“I love painting and it means a lot to me that doing something I love makes other people happy too. What a good story! Palya, thank you,”
The artwork is a celebration of her country, Irrunytju or Wingllina in Western Australia, and tells the rich story of Minyma Kutjara – two women who are travelling to Docker River which was passed down by Ms Burton's mother.
Ms Burton exhibits her work in galleries across Australia and has been a two-time finalist in the Telstra NATSIAA, which is in its 37th year, having been nominated in both 2014 and 2015.
As well as being a highly successful artist, Ms Burton has had a decorated career as an Aboriginal education worker and culture and health advocate. The respected leader taught Pitjantjatjara language at the University of South Australia.
The South Australian artist is the director of the APY Art Centre Collective, Vice Chairperson of the NPY Women’s Council, holds executive positions at Amata Community Council and Tjala Arts. She was the Winner of the Roberts Family Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Prize and was highly commended by the Wynne Prize 2020.
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory director Marcus Schutenko congratulated Ms Burton on her win, saying that her work clearly stood out as an audience favourite.
“I have had the pleasure of viewing many audiences standing in awe of 'Ngayuku Ngura' in the 2020 Telstra NATSIAA gallery at MAGNT Darwin. Ms Burton’s rich story passed down from her mother set on the artists’ signature large-scale canvas clearly defines her work,” Mr Schutenko said.