I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate Makinti on her award. She is a fantastic artist and fully deserves the honour that this award brings.
Winning painting 'singing' to judge
August 16th, 2008
A PAINTING that sang out to one of the judges has won a revered artist from Kintore the $40,000 Telstra Art Award.
Makinti Napanangka, who is in her late seventies, was not in Darwin to collect her prize at last night's awards ceremony at the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT.
Her untitled work depicts designs associated with the Lupulnga rockhole dreaming site.
Judge Hetti Perkins said the controversy surrounding ethical concerns about some entrants was in her mind when she was considering the winners.
"We were very aware of it," she said.
"But we were so preoccupied with the aesthetics that I don't even know if we would have got into the ethics."
Six art centres withdrew their works after ethical concerns over some entries but the paintings at the centre of the storm did not figure among the winners.
The other judge, artist Judy Watson, said Napanangka's painting sang to her.
"It just was like singing across the space," she said.
"When you look away from it, its double-vision follows you - it's still there. The colour stays with you."
Napanangka's work, through Papunya Yula Artists, is already highly valued and will increase following her win.
The Telstra National Aboriginal and Islander Art Award's three-dimensional prize went to Nyapanyapa Yunupingu, whose painting is accompanied by a video where she describes being attacked and gored by a buffalo.
Other category winners were Doreen Reid Nakamarra from the Warbuton Ranges in Western Australia (general painting), Terry Ngamandara Wilson from Gochan Jiny-jirra in Arnhem Land, (bark painting), and Dennis Nona from Badu Island in the Torres Strait (works on paper).
The art award is part of the Darwin Festival.