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The Australia Council is calling for nominations to recognise outstanding achievement in Indigenous arts at the 2016 National Indigenous Arts Awards.

The prestigious annual awards celebrate the work and contributions of exceptional Indigenous artists, and will be presented on 27 May next year.  The awards consist of the Red Ochre and the Dreaming.

Australia Council Executive Director Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Lydia Miller said the National Indigenous Arts Awards were established by the Council’s former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board to recognise the outstanding work and achievements of their fellow artists.

The awards are decided by a national panel of Indigenous arts peers from each state and territory, including the Torres Strait.

“Preserving, celebrating and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts is a strategic priority for the Australia Council,” Ms Miller said.

“The Council assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, arts organisations and communities to claim, control and enhance their cultural inheritance and we pay respect to the elders who play an important role in transferring Indigenous arts and cultural knowledge to younger generations.

“We support Indigenous arts projects from music, dance, theatre, literature, visual arts and craft, community and cultural development and international activity.

“It is so important to recognise the legacy of our Indigenous pioneers, and also support and encourage future leaders who will ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait arts remains at the forefront of Australia’s culture.

“These awards draw attention to the significant contribution Indigenous artists make to the artistic vibrancy and cultural life of Australia and enable us to experience, participate in and cherish the dynamic work that is created across Australia.”

The Red Ochre Award is Australia’s most esteemed peer-assessed award for an Indigenous artist.  It pays tribute to a senior Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander artist for lifetime achievement in the arts and their outstanding contributions to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture, both nationally and internationally.

Awarded since 1993, previous winners include Dr Gary Foley, Hector Burton, David Gulpilil, Archie Roach, Doris Pilkington Garimara, John Bulunbulun, Justine Saunders, Bob Maza and Jimmy Little.

The Dreaming Award recognises an inspiring young Indigenous artist aged 18-26 and supports them to create a major body of work through mentoring and partnerships, either nationally or internationally.

The Dreaming Award was first awarded in 2012 to playwright Nakkiah Lui.  Photographer Rhonda Dick

received the award in 2013, multimedia artist Tyrone Sheather in 2014, and singer-songwriter and front man of The Medics Kahl Wallis received it in 2015.

Nominations for the Red Ochre and Dreaming awards close on Thursday, 12 November.

For more information go to:

The Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Fellowship will also be awarded at the National Indigenous Arts Awards ceremony to an artist to create a major work.  Applications closed in September.

Karen Smith
Media Manager, Australia Council for the Arts
02 9215 9030 | 0498 123 541



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030

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