National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) 2021

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) 2021

Image above is the Dhambit Munuŋgar - Bees at Gäṉgän (2021) - Image Credit: Dhambit Munuŋgar and Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre

Held online for the second year, the NATSIAA winners were announced last night, the standard of the work exhibited is truly inspirational and showcases Indigenous art as one of Australia’s greatest strengths.

The haunting “Moongalba 11” by Kyra Mancktelow first caught my attention however it is the work of Dhambit Munuŋgar “Bees at Gäṉgän” that has captivated me. Bark Painting as I have never seen before in my favourite colours, the colours of Porcelain; Blue and White. The joyous photo of Dhambit Munuŋgar on the announcement of the award is the best.

Kyra Mancktelow - Moongalba 11 (2021) - Image Credit: Kyra Mancktelow and N.Smith Gallery

Timo Hogan’s "Lake Baker" took the Main Award of the 2021 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA’s) Lake Baker is a highly sacred place, and the painting tells part of the creation story of the lake, as Timo learnt from his father.

Timo Hogan - Lake Baker (2020) - Image Credit: Timo Hogan and Spinifex Arts Project Aboriginal Corporation

I have recently been reading Billy Griffith’s Deep Time Dreaming with my bookclub buddy Eileen Kramer, the book choice was hers and it has been a fascinating read of the history of Archaeology in Australia. We have just finished the chapter titled Marking Country which concludes with a suggestion from Ian McLean how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders invented the idea of contemporary art, and these awards demonstrate how they continue to lead contemporary art.

I believe the key strength of these works is not in their obvious visual connection but rather in their depth of storytelling, their connection and respect for country.

May we all open our eyes and minds and learn from this beauty.



View the winner’s artworks on the NATSIAA 2021 website here: and an exhibition of all the winners and finalists artworks through an amazing interactive virtual gallery here:

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