Northern Territory artist Gunybi Ganambarr has taken out this year’s $50,000 Telstra Art Award. From the remote community of Gan Gan in East Arnhem Land, Ganambarr was selected the overall winner at this year’s Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards(NATSIAA) for his intricate etching, Buyku.

Gunybi Ganambarr with this work,  Buyku

The winning work depicts the congregation of the Dhalwangu clan for fish trap ceremonies, highlighting how these rituals bring together the Yolŋu. Represented through a weave of etched forms depicting water and fish traps, Buykuhonours Ganambarr’s forefathers, particularly his Dhalwangu mari [grandfathers]. It also explores the attainment of cultural knowledge over time and the artist’s own journey.

Buykuwas declared the winner by a judging panel assembled by the NATSIAA exhibition curator, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. The panel included Kelly Gellatly, Director of the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne; Glenn Iseger-Pilkington, independent curator and art consultant; and Judith Inkamala, artist and senior member of the Hermannsburg Potters.

The judges described Buykuas both commanding and powerful, demonstrating the artist’s insight into culture and ceremony. They also commended his...