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Master Arnhem Land artist Margaret Rarru Garrawurra wins top prize in 2022 NATSIAA's with sweeping woven sail

By Jacqueline Breen
Posted , updated 
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award winner Margaret Rarru Garrawurra. (Supplied: MAGNT)

A sweeping, large-scale woven sail, once used on fishing boats between Arnhem Land and Indonesia prior to colonisation, has won first prize in the prestigious National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.

Six other artists have won category prizes including bark painting and multi-media works, picked from 63 finalists from over 200 entries.

This year the NATSIAA's became one of the richest art awards in the country, with $190,000 in the prize pool overall and a doubling of the top prize to $100,000.

These are the winners.

Telstra Art Award

Margaret Rarru Garrawurra with her winning work.(ABC News: Pete Garnish)

The major prize this year went to senior Yolngu artist Margaret Rarru Garrawurra for Dhomala (pandanus sail).

Ms Garrawurra, who lives in Milingimbi in north east Arnhem Land, recreated the type of sail used on Macassan fishing by boats, which came to trade with Yolngu in north east Arnhem Land prior to colonisation.

The weaving style used in the piece was taught to her by her father, who was taught by his father.

The work features the rich black plant dye Ms Garrawurra has become renowned for, which she gathers and prepares herself.

Friend and sister Helen Ganalmirriwuy, who helped interpret for Ms Garrawurra, said that of all the mediums her sister works in, weaving is "her favourite in her heart".

General Painting Award

Ngangkari Ngura, by Betty Muffler.(Supplied: MAGNT)

Indulkana artist Betty Muffler won the General Painting Award with a piece titled Ngangkari Ngura (Healing Country).

Bark Painting Award

Yirrkala elder Merrki Ganambarr-Stubbs with the late D Yunupingu's winning work Yunupiŋu —The Rock.(Supplied: MAGNT)
D Yunupingu's work among other finalists.(Supplied: MAGNT)

The Bark Painting Award this year recognised a work titled Yunupingu (the rock) by D Yunupingu from Yirrkala, who died in 2022.

Works on Paper Award

Detail of Gary Lee's winning piece for Works on Paper Award, titled Nagi.(Supplied: MAGNT)

Larrakia man Gary Lee, from Garramilla/Darwin, won the Works on Paper Award with a pastel, pencil and digital print work titled Nagi.

Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award

Bonnie Burangarra and Freda Ali Wayartja with their work that won the Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award.

A joint work by Bonnie Burangarra and Freda Ali Wayartja from Yilan in the Northern Territory won this year's Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award. The work is titled An-gujechiya.

Multimedia Award

A still from Jimmy Thaiday's winning work for the Multimedia Award, titled Beyond the Lines.(Supplied: MAGNT)

A video work by Jimmy John Thaiday from Erub in the Torres Strait, titled Beyond the Lines, won this year's Multimedia Award.

Emerging Artist Award

Louise Malarvie with her winning work.(Supplied: MAGNT)

The Emerging Artist Award, given to an artist in the first five years in their practice, this year went to Louise Malarvie from Kununurra, for a work titled Pamarr Yara.

Posted , updated