Doris Pilkington Garimara AM, author of Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence and lifetime campaigner for reconciliation, will be honoured today with Australia’s largest Indigenous arts award – the 2008 Red Ochre Award.
The $50,000 Red Ochre Award, to be presented by Therese Rein, pays tribute to an Indigenous artist for their outstanding, life-long contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts at home and abroad.
The Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts board chair Dr Chris Sarra said it was timely to honour an author whose stories have helped bring a nation together.
‘The Red Ochre Award celebrates the achievements of those who have fought to keep our culture strong. Doris’ remarkable storytelling has a strength and dignity that has allowed all Australians to imagine what it would be like to walk – both through the desert and through life – in another’s shoes.’
Doris Pilkington Garimara’s other literary works include Caprice: A Stockman’s Daughter, for which she won the 1990 David Unaipon Award, Under the Wintamarra Tree and Home to Mother, a children’s version of Doris’ mother’s 1600 km journey on foot from the Moore River native settlement to her family in Jigalong. Doris’ celebrated novel – Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence – on which the 2002 Philip Noyce film Rabbit Proof Fence was based, has been translated into 11 languages worldwide.
Doris was appointed co-patron of Australia’s State and Federal Sorry Day committee’s Journey of Healing in 2002.
The Minister for the Arts the Hon. Peter Garrett AM MP will also present two fellowships, valued at $45,000 each year, for two years, to Torres Strait Island performer Margaret Harvey and West Australian of the Year Mark Bin Bakar. The fellowships will support recipients to create major works of art over the next two years.
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