Indigenous storytelling through art is one important way our First Nations people share their history. For almost three decades, we’ve been proud to help create a world-class space for Indigenous artists to share their stories through the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards – also known as Telstra NATSIAA.

We believe it is an important part of Australian society to share ideas and culture through artistic expression, in all its diverse forms.

Working with the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) to display Indigenous culture through artwork and storytelling in the Telstra NATSIAA, we believe in a vision for an inclusive Australia where all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are connected and empowered to thrive. It is with the deepest respect that we support this long-running and prestigious awards program.

This year’s Telstra NATSIAAs see 65 incredible Indigenous artists representing their individual nations to tell stories through various creative endeavours as part of Australia’s most prestigious and longest-running Indigenous art awards.

Indigenous art carries extraordinary power and beauty, and as our CEO Andy Penn has said, it’s important that we’re inspired to see the world differently during these often-challenging times. Staying connected to each other and our shared history through art is more important than ever.

As part of this year’s NATSIAA awards, artists have once again expressed their unique and moving stories through a range of artistic representations. Indigenous artists are reinventing traditional forms and materials to share personal and thought-provoking stories through works we’re proud to elevate and share including:

Illiam Nargoodah
Photo: Courtesy Mangkaja Arts

IIliam Nargoodah from Fitzroy Crossing, WA, who is reviving the traditional craft of making knives by hand. From the blades to the handle, he crafts every part of the knife and his work demonstrates an extraordinary level of skill and mastery of his materials. His dedication and enthusiasm have seen him mastering welding and forging of this rare medium and attracting acclaim for reviving this ancient tradition.

Betty and Marina - courtesy the artists Mimili Maku Arts and Meg Hansen Photography LR
Photo: Courtesy Mimili Maku Arts

Art veteran and former NATSIAA winner, Betty Kuntiwa Pumani joins her daughter Marina to create a spectacular collaborative work. The piece is a moving celebration of intergenerational learning and the transfer of knowledge among Indigenous women. In this special collaboration, Marina picks up Betty’s mark and develops it into her own contemporary version of the stories she has been taught by the strong women in her family. Both women live in Mimili, a remote community in the APY Lands of South Australia.

Krystal Hurst portrait
Photo: Courtesy the artist

Jewellery maker Krystal Hurst from Canberra, ACT, says her NATSIAA artwork is inspired by her grandmother and ancestors before her. Krystal worked to create a piece that would make her feel strong and proud of the women in her family. She wanted to remind her ‘mob’ who they were and who they were connected to. The layered pippy shells are threaded with seaweed beads to represent the many generations of Worimi women and the continuation of their knowledge and strength passed on to the younger generation.

Reimagining the NATSIAA ceremony

Sadly, social distancing measures mean the much-loved evening of celebration for the awards on the MAGNT front lawn won’t be going ahead this year, but together with the MAGNT we are proud to present the details of our reimagined awards ceremony for audiences right across the country to enjoy this year.

From 6pm AEST, Friday 7 August, Gamilaroi woman and TV presenter Brooke Boney will announce the seven winners of the 2020 Telstra NATISAAs, including the coveted Telstra Art Award, in an online ceremony broadcast which can be viewed at

As MAGNT Director Marcus Schutenko says, the reimagined awards ceremony enables Telstra NATISAA to reach an even broader audience, giving the winning artists and finalists the acknowledgement they deserve.

Of this year’s 65 finalists, 25 hail from the Northern Territory; 16 from both South Australia and Western Australia, and eight from Queensland, New South Wales, ACT and Victoria. Additionally, eleven of our finalists are emerging artists, and have been practicing for less than five years.

We congratulate every finalist in the 2020 Telstra NATSIAA program:

Australian Capital Territory

Krystal Hurst

New South Wales

Amala Groom

Western Australia

Annette Lormada

Ben Ward

Bessie Daylight

Billy Yunkurra Atkins

Cecilia Umbagai

Cynthia Burke

Dallas Smythe

Illiam Nargoodah

John Prince Siddon

Leah Umbagai

Mabel Juli

Ngarralja Tommy May

Rosie Tarco King

Sonia Kurarra

Timo Hogan

Yukultji Napangati


Cassie Leatham

Kent Morris

Northern Territory

Adrian Jangala Robertson

Barayuwa Munuŋgurr

Deborah Wurrkidj

Dhuwarrwarr Marika

Djerrkŋu Yunupiŋu

Don Nakidilinj Namundja

Doreen Jinggarrabarra

Doris Bush Nungarrayi

Garawan Waṉambi

Gary Lee

Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu

Jack Green

Jason Lee

Joanne Napangardi Wheeler

Lance James

Marrnyula Munuŋgurr

Mary Dhapalany

Mulkuṉ Wirrpanda

Noŋgirrŋa Marawili

Paul Namarinjmak Nabulumo

Raelene Kerinauia Lampuwatu

Rerrkirrwaŋa Munuŋgurr

Siena Mayutu Wurmarri Stubbs

Titus Nganjmirra

Yalanba Waṉambi

South Australia

Angkaliya Curtis

Betty Kuntiwa Pumani and Marina Pumani Brown

Betty Muffler

Ginger Wikilyiri

Iluwanti Ken

Keith Stevens

Leah Brady

Mark Morris

Nyunmiti Burton

Nyurpaya Kaika Burton

Peter Mungkuri and Alec Baker

Robert Fielding

Sammy Lyons

Tiger Yaltangki

Tjala Women’s Collaborative

Wawiriya Burton


Dylan Sarra

Jenna Lee

Jimmy K Thaiday – Torres Strait Islands

Ryan Presley