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The Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) have announced its 2021 finalists.

Sixty-five First Nations artists have been selected out of the 248 registered entries into the 2021 competition.

The Awards, presented by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) in collaboration with Telstra, is the longest running Indigenous art award in the nation beginning in 1984.

2021 NATSIAA finalist Stanley Douglas. Photo supplied by Luke Byrne.

Of the 65 selected finalists, 35 hail from the Northern Territory, 14 from Western Australia, nine from South Australia, four from Queensland and three from New South Wales. There is just one entrant each from the Torres Strait and Victoria.

Fourteen of the selected artworks were created by emerging artists.

The selection panel for the awards consisted of Wadjarri, Nhanda and Nyoongar artist and former Telstra NATSIAA judge Glenn Iseger Pilkington, Gulumirrgin (Larrakia)/Wadaman and Karajarri woman and National Gallery of Australia curator Tina Baum, and Trawlwoolway artist and curator Julie Gough.

“2021 saw us reviewing a vast number of exceptionally high-quality works, which was incredibly encouraging given the challenges that artists have faced over the last 12 months — creating work during a pandemic that limited travel, delaying arrival of supplies and had people in a state of worry,” the selection panel said.

“Receiving such a volume of great submissions made our job as a selection panel even more challenging.

“What we were left with after three days of deliberation, is a selection of work from across Australia that is testament to the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, artists, makers and custodians.”

“It is always a challenge to select from such a large number of submissions, but also a great honour, and an opportunity to see works by artists we’re not familiar with who are doing really interesting things creatively.”

2021 NATSIAA finalist Timothy Cook. Photo by Will Heathcote, supplied courtesy of the artist, Jilamara Arts and Crafts.

MAGNT Director Marcus Schutenko congratulated the 2021 finalists and commended the panel for taking on a hard task.

“This year’s artists will undoubtedly contribute to a high-impact exhibition with their breadth of artwork mediums and stories from urban and remote places in Australia,” said Schutenko.

“We look forward to sharing this artwork with wide audiences via the physical and virtual exhibition experience with sincere thanks to Telstra, our longstanding partner.”

This year, Telstra celebrates 30 years working alongside NATSIAA.

“I have seen firsthand these awards grow from strength to strength on a global scale and feel truly proud to be part of such an important event,” Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said.

“The quality and scope of the work this year is exceptional. Whatever the style, whatever the medium, there is an extraordinary power and beauty in Indigenous art.

“I look forward to hearing the winners’ announcement in August and seeing the exhibition in person this year.”


Read the full list of 2021 NATSIAA finalists below: 

New South Wales

  • Dennis Golding, Sydney
  • Thea Anamara Perkins, Sydney
  • Toby Cedar, Thornton

Northern Territory

  • Adrian Jangala Robertson, Alice Springs
  • Alycia Marrday, Gunbalanya
  • Charles Inkamala, Alice Springs
  • Denise Brady, Kaltukatjara
  • Dhambit Munuŋgurr, Gunyuŋara
  • Dhambit Waṉambi, Yirrkala
  • Dino Wilson, Milikapiti, Tiwi Islands
  • Djambawa Marawili, Yilpara
  • Djerrkŋu Yunupiŋu, Yirrkala
  • Djirrirra Wunuŋmurra, Yirrkala
  • Doris Bush, Papunya
  • George Tjungurrayi, Kintore
  • Glen Namundja, Gunbalanya
  • Hubert Pareroultja, Mpwarntwe
  • Ishmael Marika, Yirrkala
  • Karen Rogers, Ngukurr
  • Kaya Dhurumuḻ Munuŋgurr Yirrkala
  • Kaye Brown, Milikapiti, Tiwi Islands
  • Leon Russell (Cameron) Black, Darwin
  • Mario Walarmerpui, Pirlangimpi, Tiwi Islands
  • Mary Dhapalany, Ramingining
  • Ms M Wirrpanda (deceased), Yirrkala
  • Muluymuluy Wirrpanda, Yirrkala
  • Napuwarri Marawili, Yilpara
  • Noŋgirrŋa Marawili, Yirrkala
  • Patrick Freddy Puruntatameri, Milikapiti, Tiwi Islands
  • Pedro Wonaeamirri, Milikapiti, Tiwi Islands
  • Phillip Wilson, Nauiyu, Daly River
  • Rhonda Sharpe, Yarrenyty Arltere Town Camp, Alice Springs
  • Rona Rubuntja Panangka, Hermannsburg
  • Timothy Cook, Milikapiti, Tiwi Islands
  • Tjukapati James, Kaltukatjara
  • Wally Wilfred, Ngukurr
  • Wanapati Yunupiŋu, Yirrkala


  • Dylan Sarra, Brisbane
  • Elisa Jane Carmichael, Brisbane
  • Erub Arts Collective, Torres Strait
  • Kyra Mancktelow, Logan

South Australia

  • Angkaliya Curtis, Nyapari, APY Lands
  • Betty Chimney, Indulkana
  • Mary Pan, Amata
  • Peter Mungkuri, Indulkana
  • Sally Scales, Adelaide
  • Stanley Douglas, Amata
  • Tjunkaya Tapaya, Pukatja
  • Witjiti George, Fregon, APY Lands
  • Zaachariaha Fielding, Adelaide


  • Dr Christian Thompson, Melbourne

Western Australia

  • Ben Ward, Nganalam
  • Bobby West Tjupurrula, Kiwirrkura
  • Bugai Whyoulter, Kunawarritji
  • David Cox, Warmun Fred Grant, Tjuntjuntjara
  • Jane Cheedy, Roebourne
  • John Prince Siddon, Fitzroy Crossing
  • Katjarra Butler, Tjukurla
  • Ned Grant, Tjuntjuntjara
  • Nola Campbell, Wanarn
  • Nyangulya Katie Nalgood, South Hedland
  • Roma Butler, Irrunytju
  • Sonia Kurarra, Fitzroy Crossing
  • Timo Hogan, Tjuntjuntjara


By Rachael Knowles