2016 National Indigenous Arts Awards winners announced

Yvonne Koolmatrie photo by Ben Searcy AGSAOutstanding achievement in Indigenous arts were celebrated last night at a ceremony at the Sydney Opera House for the Australia Council’s Ninth National Indigenous Arts Awards.

These prestigious annual awards celebrate the unique artistry and contributions of exceptional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and consist of the Red Ochre, a Fellowship and the Dreaming Award.

Australia’s most esteemed peer-assessed award for an Indigenous artist, the Red Ochre was presented to world renowned Ngarrindjeri weaver Yvonne Koolmatrie (SA). Awarded since 1993, the $50,000 prize acknowledges an artist’s outstanding contribution to and lifetime achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts at a national and international level.

Interdisciplinary artist, consultant and community cultural development teacher Vicki Couzens (Vic) received this year’s Fellowship – providing $40,000 a year for two years to create a major project. The Dreaming Award provides $20,000 to an artist aged 18-26 to create a major body of work through mentoring or partnerships, was presented to lyricist, rapper, composer and producer Nooky (Corey Webster) (NSW).

Australia Council Chair Rupert Myer AO said he looked forward each year to paying tribute to eminent Indigenous artists through the awards, which are the highest acknowledgement an Australian Indigenous artist can achieve for their artistic achievements.

“The awards put a spotlight on the significant contribution Indigenous artists make to the artistic vibrancy and cultural life of Australia,” said Mr Myer. “They encourage us to experience, appreciate and learn about the diverse cultures and ancient stories of our First Peoples through the broad range of work created by Indigenous artists across Australia.”

For more information and profiles of the Award recipients, visit: www.australiancouncil.gov.au for details.

Image: Yvonne Koolmatrie – photo by Ben Searcy (used with permission from Art Gallery of South Australia)