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Finalist: Telstra National Aboriginal and Tores Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA)

Finalist: Telstra National Aboriginal and Tores Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA)

11 August 2023 – 18 February 2024  
Museum and Art Gallery of the NT (MAGNT) | Darwin NT 

For the first time, Anindilyakwa Arts has been accepted as a finalist in the Telstra NATSIAA award.  

Held annually at MAGNT, the Telstra NATSIAA mission is to showcase the richness and diversity of current contemporary Indigenous artistic practice and the pre-eminence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices, nationwide, within the visual arts. Telstra NATSIAA displays the very best contemporary art from around Australia and is the longest running, and most prestigious, Indigenous art award.  

Anindilyakwa Art’s entry, Dadikwakwa-kwa (Doll Shells) 2023, is the first collection of reimagined Doll Shells inspired by the Manchester Museum return. Created by ten women from community and outstations across the Eylandt, artists are a mix of senior and emerging practitioners; in one instance, artists include three generations within one family.  

Curated in a fourteen-by-fourteen grid, to represent the fourteen clans of the Groote Archipelago, the 196 Doll Shells are individually mounted on custom stands, so they appear to be floating off the wall – a reference to their spirit-like characteristics and the Manchester Museum’s Dadikwakwa-kwa’s fifty years spent in a natural history collection where specimens are often pinned for display. 

“Doll shells, they’re not just shells, they've got spirits inside them. We can talk to them; they can answer us back. It’s like a dream, they answer, it is very strong. But you have to believe and trust them. They keep everything for us – knowledge, stories and meaning.” 
- Danjibana Noeleen Lalara, Lead Art and Culture Officer  

Dadikwakwa-kwa (Doll Shells) 2023 is the first time that the revitalised artistic practice will be able to be viewed by the public and has been acquired by the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT for their permanent collection. Dadikwakwa-kwa (Doll Shells) 2023 is the first significant contemporary Anindilyakwa artwork to be accessioned into a public collection.  

Artwork details: 

Anindilyakwa Artist Collective: Noeleen Danjibana Lalara (b. 1970), Maicie Lalara (b. 1986), Sheanah Shakita Marawili (b. 2002), Charlene Wanambi (b. 1985), Elsie Bara (b. 1967), Marcia Mamarika (b. 1970), Elouise Lalara (b. 1986), Jeanelle Mamarika (b. 1978), Annabelle Dingmalmurrangkama Amagula (b. 1965), Meaghan Wanambi (b. 1984) 

Dadikwakwa-kwa (Doll Shells), 2023

Shells, earth pigments, native seeds, mangkurrkwa (pandanus), malbalba (bush string), stringybark, silk, natural dyes, human hair, gum leaf, sand, synthetic polymer paint, glue, cotton string, wire 

110 x 120 x 6 cm (overall) 

Umbakumba Community, Four Mile Outstation, Thompson's Bay Outstation and Angurugu Community, Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory, Australia.  

View the 2023 Telstra NATSIAA virtually here 

Vote for Dadikwakwa-kwa (Doll Shells) in the People’s Choice Award here.  

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