After the controversy over the winning artwork at this years Telstra Aboriginal Art Awards, there was far less controversy at the Togart Awards wit the winner being a traditional Aboriginal Artist.
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Top award for tradition
September 4th, 2009
A TRADITIONAL Aboriginal artist won the $15,000 top prize at the third Togart Award.
Maningrida weaver Anniebell Marrngamarrnga was on hand to collect the award for her striking large Yawkyawk, meaning young woman or young woman spirit.
One of the judges, National Gallery of Australia curator of Australian painting and sculpture post-1920 Deborah Hart, said the judges had some "pretty intense debate" before reaching a decision.
"Every single person, indigenous and non-indigenous, has a very distinctive style and that really stands out," she said.
The winner, and the approach taken by at least one of the judges, is strikingly different to last month's $40,000 Telstra Aboriginal art award.
The winning piece at that show, a large drawing with pencil, crayon and glitter pen, had many observers scratching their heads.
One judge talked about her desire to push the boundaries of what is Aboriginal art.
But rather than pushing boundaries at Togart, Hart said she wanted a winner that would stand the test of time. "Will you look back in 50 years' time and say that's still holding up as a meaningful work?" she said.
"It's not what makes a great impact or what's fashionable - it's what will stand the test of time. It's also the presence of the work, the inventiveness, the way it's made."
Hart said by the look of the Togart finalists the Territory's art scene is in strong shape.
"People are doing their own thing," she said. "Perhaps that's a Territory thing - people aren't thinking they have to follow a particular fashion or trend."
The 2009 Togart award is on show in the Great Hall of Parliament House.