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Meet The Winners Of Australia's Most Prestigious Indigenous Art Awards

The Telstra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Awards recognise the most exceptional Indigenous art produced in the past year.

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West Australian artist Jukuja Dolly Snell has been awarded Australia's most prestigious Indigenous art prize.

Jukuja Dolly Snell, Kurtal, Acrylic on canvas, 2015 (Supplied)

Snell’s work Kurtal took out the $50,000 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, (NATSIAA) beating more than 290 entries.

Born in the great Sandy Desert in 1933, Snell's painting represents her traditional country, its spirits and the stories that have been passed down for thousands of years there.

The youth award was given to 23 year-old Josh Muir for his work Buninyong.

Josh Muir, Buninyong, Digital print on aluminium, 2015 (Supplied)

Muir's digital print is about the history of the town Buninyong outside of Ballarat in Victoria.

The General Painting Award was given to Betty Kuntiwa Pumani from South Australia for her work Antara (Maku Dreaming).

Betty Kuntiwa Pumani, Antara (Maku Dreaming), Acrylic on linen, 2015 (Supplied)

The judges said that Pumani won because “the intricacy of the mark making in this work is very commanding."

The Bark Painting category was awarded to Nonggirrnga Marawili from Yirrkala in the Northern Territory for her piece Lightning in the Rock.

Nonggirrnga Marawili, Lightning in the Rock, Natural ochres on eucalyptus bark, 2015 (Supplied)

The bark painting award is for Indigenous artists who paint on tree bark, a traditional canvas dating back thousands of years. Marawili's work highlights the sacred power of lightning to the Yolngu people of Arnhem Land.


Robert Fielding from Mimili Community in South Australia won the Work on Paper award for his work Milkali Kutju, meaning "One Blood" in Pitjantjatjara.

Robert Fielding, Milkali Kutju, Screenprint on fine art paper, edition of 5, 2015 (Supplied)

Fielding's artwork is a response to the constant racism that he experienced growing up in the South Australian town of Port Augusta. The judging panel said it was a, "strong statement about cultural identity."

The Wandjuk Marika Memorial Three-Dimensional Award was given to Rhonda Sharpe from Larapinta Town Camp in Alice Springs.

Rhonda Sharpe, Rhonda, Recycled naturally dyed blankets, embellished with wool, cotton, feathers, 2015 (Supplied)

Sharpe's sculpture, Rhonda incorporates wool, cotton and feathers. The judges said while the work looked playful they described it as an, “extremely brave and honest work that talks about personal conflict”.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (NATSIAA) have been running for 32 years.

Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award finalists. (Supplied)

Established by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) in 1984, they have become known as the most prestigious Indigenous art award in the country.