Jenni Kemarre Martiniello wins 30th Telstra NATSIAA

Media Release, 12 August 2013

Canberra artist Jenni Kemarre Martiniello has won the $40,000 Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award (NATSIAA) for 2013.

The sophistication, elegance and mastery of Ms Martiniello’s glass entry Golden Brown Reeds Fish Trap drew high praise from judges Destiny Deacon (Indigenous artist), Bruce McLean (Curator of Indigenous Australian Art at the Queensland Art Gallery) and Pierre Arpin (Director, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory).

2013 marks 30 years of the Award, which recognises the important contribution made by Indigenous artists and promotes appreciation and understanding of the quality and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art throughout Australia, with support from principal sponsor Telstra.

Minister for Arts and Museums in the Northern Territory, Matt Conlan, said Ms Martiniello’s entry beat a highly competitive field of 76 other finalists.

“The NATSIAAs are one of Australia’s premier art awards and a real celebration of Indigenous culture,” said Mr Conlan.

“I congratulate Ms Martiniello for her work which pays tribute to the traditional Aboriginal practice of weaving – the oldest living practice of the method in the world.”

Mr Conlan also congratulated five other artists who each won $4,000 in their respective categories:

  • Telstra General Painting Award – Mavis Ngallametta (Queensland) for her work Yalgamunken #3 which tells the story of her community life and country in a unique and vibrant style that marries abstraction with elements of figuration
  • Telstra Bark Painting Award – Malaluba Gumana (Northern Territory) for her work Dhatam which invites audiences into the country and sings with the sinuous lines of waterlily stems and clean and refined crosshatching skillfully revealing part of the Wititj (Rainbow Serpent) story
  • Telstra Work on Paper Award – Teho Ropeyarn (Queensland) for his work Apudthama which strengthens and reinforces the story of unity of the four clans of the Injinoo area at the tip of Cape York
  • Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award (also sponsored by Telstra) – Rhonda Sharpe (Northern Territory) for her work They Come From Nowhere which features soft-sculpture alien spirits – Sad, Worried, Frightened and Hopeful – telling a captivating story that resonates with the realities of town camp life
  • Telstra New Media Award – Raymond Zada (South Australia) for his work Sorry which examines the complexities of Australian history and disconnect between language and reality.

Telstra Chief Financial Officer Andrew Penn reinforced the important contribution these artists make in promoting an understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

“We are proud to have met and profiled so many uniquely talented artists through our 22 years of support for this Award and are committed to ensuring these incredible stories and artworks are seen and heard on a national scale,” said Mr Penn.

“As part of this year’s 30th anniversary celebrations, 50 artworks from the Telstra Collection, including works from this year’s winners, will be made accessible to new audiences through an exciting collaboration with the Google Art Project,” continued Mr Penn.

Since launching in February 2011, the Google Art Project ( has given people around the world access to more than 40,000 works selected from collections held in 261 museums worldwide including Tate Britain, Museum of Modern Art, The Van Gogh Museum, The National Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Australia and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

Annie Baxter, Head of Communications for Google Australia said the collaboration will allow audiences to experience the extraordinary talent of the very best Indigenous artists in the country.

"We are delighted to be helping share more Australian art with people around the world via the Google Art Project, and we hope it encourages a greater appreciation and interest in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures on a global scale,” said Ms Baxter.

The 2013 NATSIAA exhibition will displayed at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory from Saturday 10th August until Sunday 10th November, and artworks from the Telstra Collection will be accessible through the Google Art Project from Monday 12th August.

Follow the 30th Telstra NATSIAA on Twitter and Facebook.

The 30th Telstra NATSIAA is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.