Yolŋu artist Djambawa Marawili AM has been announced as the recipient of this year’s $50,000 Telstra Art Award. From the Yilpara in East Arnhem Land, Marawili was selected the overall winner of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory’s Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) for his stringybark piece, Journey to America. Selected from 280 entries and 68 finalists, the work is a meditation on Marawili’s recent travels in the United States spreading Yolŋu philosophy. Made from natural pigments, the work depicts five different states of water in Blue Mud Bay, located on the eastern coast of Arnhem Land, as well as the Statue of Liberty. Marawili previously won a NATSIAA prize in 1996, also for a bark painting.

Djambawa Marawili AM with his work Journey to America. Photo © Fiona Morrison

Journey to Americawas declared the winner by a judging panel consisting of Art Gallery of South Australia Director Rhana Davenport, Tiwi artist and cultural leader Pedro Wonaeamirri and Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Senior Curator of Indigenous Cultures Zoe Rimmer.  

“The scale is remarkable, and Djambawa Marawili’s virtuosic use of natural materials and...