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

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 the richest art award 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.

A photograph of an orange and black woven sail

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 favorite in her heart”.

General Painting Award

An intricate painting of white markings scrawled across a black canvas.
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

A woman stands next to a bark painting featuring cream-coloured water spirit figures and a red and pink sea.
Yirrkala elder Meriki Ganambarr-Stubbs with the late D Yunupingu’s winning work Yunupiŋu —The Rock.(Supplied: MAGNT)
wider d yunupingu work
D Yunupingu’s work among other finalists.(Supplied: MAGNT)

The Bark Painting Award this year recognized a work titled Yunupingu (the rock) by D Yunupingu from Yirrkala, who died in 2021.

Works on Paper Award

A black and white photo of a man, with a collage of flowers edited into the background.
Detail of Gary Lee’s winning piece for Works on Paper Award, titled Nagi.(Supplied: MAGNT)
A man sitting in front of a black-and-white portrait handing on a wall in a gallery.  He wears a pearl necklace.

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

Two elderly women in an art gallery, sitting in front of a large woven fish trap suspended behind them.
Bonnie Burangarra and Freda Ali Wayartja with their work that won the Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award.
A picture of the inside of a woven basket.
A large cylindrical thatched artwork hanging from the ceiling of an art gallery.

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

artwork by Jimmy Thaiday
A still from Jimmy Thaiday’s winning work for the Multimedia Award, titled Beyond the Lines.(Supplied: MAGNT)
Three people sitting on a settee watching a video on a large screen, inside a dark room inside an art gallery.

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

Emerging Artist Award

A beaming woman standing in front of a large artwork hung on a black wall with her hands on her hips.
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.

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