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HomeIssue 19The rise and rise of Yarrenyty Arltere soft sculptures

The rise and rise of Yarrenyty Arltere soft sculptures

Rhonda Napurrula Sharpe (at left) , one of the leading Yarrenyty Arltere artists from the Larapinta Valley Town Camp in Alice Springs, has won the Wandjuk Marika Memorial 3D Award, for her work They Come From No Where.
The 3D Award is one of five $4000 prizes in the Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAAs). The big prize of $40,000 went to Canberra artist Jenni Kemarre Martiniello for her elegant glass sculpture, Golden Brown Reeds Fish Trap (below left).
Rhonda Sharpe’s entry was described as “vibrant and quirky” by the judges. Her “soft-sculpture alien spirits, Sad, Worried, Frightened and Hopeful (below right), tell a captivating story that resonates with the realities of town camp life,” they said.
The judges were Indigenous artist Destiny Deacon, Curator of Indigenous Australian Art at the Queensland Art Gallery Bruce McLean, and Director of Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) Pierre Arpin.
The NATSIAAs, now 30 years old, are the only national art awards open to all adult Indigenous artists. The work of all 76 finalists is on show at MAGNT till November 10. It can also be viewed online.
The other winners of their respective categories are:

  • 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
  • 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.

Said Telstra Chief Financial Officer Andrew Penn: “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.”
As part the 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, he said.
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.
RELATED READING on Alice Springs News Online:
Town camp artists do it their way


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