A blown-glass artwork by a Canberra-based artist has won this year's National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award.

Jennie Kemarre Martiniello's artwork Golden Brown Reeds Fish Trap beat 76 other finalists to win the $40,000 prize.

The piece is made from hot blown glass and was inspired by traditional weaving.

Martiniello says the win is especially significant given she has had a tough year marred by illness.

"This is an affirmation from the universe and the ancestors that, hey, keep doing this, you are doing the right thing," she said.

One of the judges, Destiny Deacon, says it is an unconventional piece for the prestigious major award.

"I feel like we're a bit naughty picking glass because everyone expects a painting to win," she said.

Other prize winners include 24-year-old Teho Ropeyarn, who was recognised for his work telling the story of four Cape York clans, and Queensland artist Mavis Ngallametta who won the Painting Award.

South Australian artist Raymond Zada won the new media award for his light installation that merges the words of Kevin Rudd's national apology with the text of Paul Keating's 1992 Redfern address.

Two Northern Territory artists have also won awards - Malaluba Gumana for a bark painting, and Rhonda Sharpe for her alien spirit sculptures.

The award is one of the richest and longest running Indigenous art prizes in the country, and is held every year in Darwin.

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