Ngarralja Tommy May wins the 2020 NATSIAA!

Wangkajunga and Walmajarri man Ngarralja Tommy May was honoured as the top entrant in the 2020 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards for his piece Wirrkanja.

“This work is Wirrkanja, it’s the country where I lost my brother, its jilji (sand dune) country and flat country,” he said.

“There’s a jila there (living spring waterhole). It’s not far from Kurtal, over two sand dunes. It’s in flood time, the water runs down the jilji. This is my country and my family’s country.”

Ngarralja Tommy May was born at Yarrnkurnja in the Great Sandy Desert. He dances and sings Kurtal, a ceremony relating to the main jila (living waterhole) in his country. Ngarralja tells this story:

“I was big when I left my country. I was already hunting by myself. I was with my young brother and my mother. My father had passed away by this time. I know these stories and these places in my country. I paint these now.”

Ngarralja Tommy May is featured in Putuparri and the Rainmakers