The Australia Council has announced this year’s recipients of their prestigious Awards – which recognise and celebrate the significant contributions of leading artists to the artistic and cultural vibrancy of the nation.
Nominated by industry peers, the eight recipients of the national awards demonstrate an extraordinary range of outstanding and sustained achievement across music, literature, community arts and cultural development, emerging and experimental arts, visual arts, theatre, and dance. They join an impressive and diverse group of individuals who have received these awards in previous years.
The recipients will be honoured during a special ceremony at Carriageworks on Tuesday. Australia Council CEO Tony Grybowski said it was an opportunity to reflect on the important role artists play in capturing the nation’s imagination.
“These national awards are a critical way for the Australia Council to recognise the remarkable achievements of individual Australian artists, as well as highlighting the broader contribution of all our artists to enhancing the lives of Australians,” said Mr Grybowski.
“The recipients of the 2018 awards are leaders in their respective fields. They have individually and collectively made highly significant contributions to the development of artistic practice and to challenging existing ways of exploring how we express identity and how we connect with one another.”
“Almost all Australians engage with the arts multiple times on a daily basis. The Arts play a central role in wellbeing, in building more creative and cohesive communities, and are a complex and layered reflection of our nation. With that in mind it is essential that we celebrate and support the rich and diverse artistic talent we are fortunate to have,” added Mr Grybowski.
The recipients of Australia Council Awards for 2018:
Bruce Pascoe (VIC) – Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature
A man of many talents, Bruce Pascoe has had a varied career as a school teacher, farmer, fisherman, barman, fencing contractor, lecturer, Aboriginal language researcher, archaeological site worker and editor. He is the author of a number of books including Fog a Dox (2012), which won the Young Adult category of the 2013 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. A Bunurong man born in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond, Bruce is a member of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative of southern Victoria and has been the director of the Australian Studies Project for the Commonwealth Schools Commission.
Liza Lim (VIC) – Australia Council Don Banks Music Award
Lisa Lim has been described as one of the leading composers of her generation. Born in Australia to Chinese parents and educated in Australia and Brunei, Liza’s work draws from diverse cultural influences, including Asian ritual culture and the aesthetics of Indigenous Art. Her music has been performed by some of the best ensembles and orchestras and featured at festivals throughout the world. She is currently Professor of Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where she leads the Composing Women program.
Pat Brassington (TAS) – Australia Council Award for Visual Arts
Pat Brassington is a leading Australia artist working in photo-media. With a career spanning four decades, her practice reflects a strong interest in surrealism, feminism and psychoanalysis. Her work is held in many private and public collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales; Queensland Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia. Pat has said of her works; “I aim to pitch my images just off the verge of normality, into those dense patches where the commonplace goes awry.”
Nigel Helyer (NSW) – Australia Council Award for Emerging & Experimental Arts
Nigel Helyer (aka DrSonique) is an independent sculptor and sound-artist who has gained local and international recognition for his large scale sound-sculptures, environmental artworks and interactive projects for museums. In a recent international collaborative project, Nomanslanding – the audience interacts physically within a huge, floating multi-channel acoustic-architecture, crossing a water-body to be immersed in a 20 channel audio composition. The work explores concepts of conflict and reconciliation and has been exhibited in Sydney; and the Ruhr Triennale (2015) and in Glasgow (2017).
Phillip Adams (VIC) – Australia Council Award for Dance
Philip Adams is an interdisciplinary choreographer and artist who established BalletLab in 1998, following a decade in New York. His professional practice draws on collaboration through hybrid mediums of music, design, fashion, architecture, cinema, visual arts and photography engaging with the unorthodox, queer and popular culture. He has been commissioned to make works for companies including the Australian Ballet, Chunky Move, MONA, Dance Works Rotterdam and Guangdong Modern Dance Company (China) among others.
Liz Jones AO (VIC) – Australia Council Award for Theatre
Liz Jones has devoted her life to the performing arts. As the Artistic Director of theatre company La Mama in Carlton, Melbourne for more than four decades, she actively worked to increase the representation of women and Indigenous Australians in theatre. She has worn many hats over the course of her 40 year career – working as a teacher, performer, facilitator, administrator, board member, employer, and social justice advocate. In 2012 she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), the citation specifically mentioning her work with playwrights and the Indigenous theatre community.
Christian (Bong) Ramilo (NT) – Australia Council Ros Bower Award for Community Arts and Cultural Development
Christian (Bong) Ramilo is a self-described cultural activist who uses music, photography, theatre, poetry, and other ways of working with various groups of people to drive social change. He was born in the Philippines and was active politically and artistically against the Marcos dictatorship. He migrated hurriedly to Australia in 1986 because of his political-artistic activities. He now lives and works in Darwin, where social and political issues continue to motivate his creative work.
Edwin Kemp Attrill (SA) – Australia Council Kirk Robson Award for Community Arts and Cultural Development
Edwin Kemp Attrill is a South Australian theatre maker and community arts practitioner who works with people with disabilities, prisoners, LGBTIQ communities, young people, refugees and migrants. He is the founder and Artistic Director of ActNow Theatre and the former Artistic Director of the University of Adelaide Theatre Guild. Edwin’s work focuses on interactive theatre and participatory storytelling, exploring social issues and themes.
For more information, visit: www.australiacouncil.gov.au for details.
Image: (top: L – R) Liza Lim, Christian (Bong) Ramilo, Liz Jones AO, Phillip Adams, (bottom: L – R) Edwin Kemp Attrill, Pat Brassington, Bruce Pascoe, Nigel Helyer (supplied)