August 10, 2021
Published on Tuesday 11 August, 2020
Painted memories of his mother’s home country, Yalpirakinu, has won Northern Territory artist Adrian Jangala Robertson, the prestigious Telstra General Painting Award at this year’s National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA).
Adrian has painted the country, also known as Yuelamu, for many years, and has a considerable body of work capturing its moods, colours and forms. It was this expression of country in Yalpirakinu that the judges praised.
“The real strength of this work is in its restraint. The gestural brushstrokes convey a quiet confidence and an intimate knowledge of and connection with country. The luminosity the artist has achieved through his palette choice beautifully evokes the sense of place, scale and colour of the artist’s country – Yalpirakinu,” the judges said in their statement.
Working from Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists studio in Alice Springs, Adrian, who is non-verbal, expressed that he is extremely proud to be receiving recognition from such an important award and proud for his family and his community to know of his achievements.
Fellow Bindi artist, Lance James, also featured in the awards with a nomination in the same category for his work, Punu, Puli, Tjanpi, Wild Horses on Kaltukatjara Country - a vibrant and energetic painting of wild horses running though the rocky Kaltukatjara (Docker River) landscape. In a milestone for Adrian and Lance, The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) has announced it will acquire both works in recognition of their quality and importance.
Bindi artists regularly feature at the NATSIAA’s and other major art prizes. The first studio in Australia to occupy the intersection between supported studios and Aboriginal Art Centres, the Bindi studio which supports Adrian and Lance provides a means for Aboriginal artists living with a disability to develop and receive recognition for their artistic practices. Bindi provides supported studio spaces, a national exhibition schedule, design contracts, multimedia collaborations, art fairs and art award opportunities.
Andrew Hyland, CEO of Lifestyle Solutions, which includes Bindi, said “We are thrilled to support the artists at Bindi and to help them tell their stories. To see Adrian and Lance recognised and rewarded for their unique talents, and to know they are sharing their stories on a national stage, is something we are all very excited about.”
Servena McIntyre, Lifestyle Solutions National Diversity & Reconciliation Action Plan working groups sponsor, congratulated Adrian and Lance.
“Adrian is a gifted artist and an amazing man who deserves every accolade. Congratulations Adrian on this amazing achievement. Congratulations Lance, both on being nominated and for having your stunning work acquired by MAGNT. Thank you, Bindi, for championing the arts and our First Australian artists. We are beaming with pride from across the Lifestyle Solutions community.”
Adrian and Lance’s work, as well as that of all this year’s Telstra NATSIAA finalists, can be seen at the MAGNT NATSIAA virtual gallery until 31 January 2021.