Central Australian artist wins People’s Choice in Telstra awards


Alyawarr artist Michelle Holmes Pwerla, from Ampilatwatja,  has been voted the People’s Choice Award winner in this year’s 30th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award.
The 45-year-old artist received 121 votes of the 1781 votes cast for her painting My Country, acrylic on canvas (150 x 180cm, pictured), which depicts the country she lives on.
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) Director Pierre Arpin congratulated Ms Holmes on her win: “My Country is a visually spectacular painting full of vibrant colours that easily draws a viewer towards it and I suggest that’s this is why it proved to be so popular.”
It is one of 77 works in this year’s Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award.  Since the exhibition opened in August, it has attracted an audience of more than 53,580 visitors. The exhibition closes this Sunday.
Ampilatwatja is located off the Sandover Highway, about 325 kms north-east of Alice Springs. Ms Holmes says her community has made “a conscious decision not to paint Altyerre dreaming stories”. Instead the artists paint “their country where those stories sit”.
About this painting, she says: “When I go out hunting I always see the colour in the trees, some light, some dark, and the bush medicine plants growing on the sand hills. The colours change at sunrise and sunset.”
RELATED READING, on the judges’ winners:
The rise and rise of Yarrenyty Arltere soft sculptures



  1. So thrilled to learn this news. The Artists of Ampilatwatja produce marvellous artwork. Michelle Holmes has done her community proud.
    The Art Centre in Ampilatwatja is a great meeting place for many talented artists.
    A very well managed Art Centre.
    Congratulations to Michelle and the Artists of Ampilatwatja.
    Lynne Henderson.
    RFDS, Alice Springs.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here