Embracing the Journey: My First Time as a Telstra NATSIAA Finalist

Stepping into the world of art, I embarked on a remarkable journey as a first-time finalist in the 2023 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (Telstra NATSIAA). While my entry titled “Bingga” may not have clinched the winning spot, the experience was nothing short of exhilarating. Join me as I share my heartwarming tale of artistic exploration, connection, and celebration within the prestigious Telstra NATSIAA community.

For generations, the bingga has held life for our people. Since the ships arrived over the vast horizon, blood has flowed on every tide.

A Glimpse of “Bingga

“Bingga” was my visual expression of a world that resonates with my cultural heritage and personal experiences. This intricate piece encapsulated stories, emotions, and symbols that hold deep significance in my life. Through the three carefully curated images, I aimed to create a narrative that not only speaks to my Indigenous roots but also invites viewers to engage with the layers of meaning within the artwork.

A Heartening Experience as a First-Time Finalist

The news of my selection as a finalist for the 2023 Telstra NATSIAA was a momentous occasion that filled me with an overwhelming sense of pride and joy. As the longest-running and most prestigious Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art awards in the country, the Telstra NATSIAA carries immense weight and significance within the artistic community. Being recognized as a finalist was a validation of my creative journey and an affirmation of the value of my artistic expression.

In the aftermath, we traverse the stained waters, tracing scars to reconnect to kin.

Connecting with a Wider Audience

While my “Bingga” entry may not have secured a win, the journey itself was a victory in its own right. The Telstra NATSIAA provided me with an invaluable platform to connect with a diverse and expansive audience. Through the exhibition, held both on Larrakia Country and online, I had the opportunity to share my story, my culture, and my art with people from various corners of the world. The connection forged between my artwork and its audience was a heartening reminder of the power of art to transcend boundaries and create meaningful dialogues.

Celebrating Diversity in Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art

One of the remarkable aspects of the Telstra NATSIAA is its representation of artistic practices from each state and territory across Australia. The exhibition serves as a living testament to the diversity, richness, and vibrancy of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. As a first-time finalist, I felt honored to be a part of this collective celebration of cultural expression, tradition, and innovation.

Sorrow ebbs and flows as generational trauma blooms with each wave.


My journey as a first-time finalist in the 2023 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards was a profound experience that left an indelible mark on my artistic path. While “Bingga” may not have secured a win, the connections made, the stories shared, and the celebration of diverse artistic voices were the true rewards of this incredible journey. The Telstra NATSIAA stands as a beacon of inspiration, fostering an environment where Indigenous artists can thrive and contribute to the rich tapestry of Australia’s artistic heritage. As I continue to create and explore, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of this year’s finalists and to contribute to the ever-evolving narrative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.