Ngarralja Tommy May, a Wangkajunga and Walmajarri man born in Yarrkurnja in the Great Sandy Desert, Western Australia, has won the major 2020 Telstra Art Award at this year’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA).

His winning piece, Fitzroy Crossing, WA Wirrkanja 2020, is an etching on metal and enamel paint, and was selected from 65 finalists.

Ngarralja Tommy May. Photograph © Damian Kelly, courtesy of the artist and Mangkaja Arts

May expressed his delight at winning the prestigious award, which comes with a cash prize of $50,000, saying: “Thank you mob in Darwin for this business. Thank you. At last. I feel proud. I’ve been trying all my life, all the time second, fourth, last, sometimes nothing. But I got it now, today. My days, my time this year, I’m the winner. At last.”

May, who is now based in Fitzroy Crossing, was an executive for 21 years on the Arnhem, Northern and Kimberley Artists (ANKA) Board of Directors.

Photograph © Damian...