Celebrating the achievements of First Nations artists at the 2021 First Nations Arts Awards

Australia-Council-Tasman-KeithThe recipients of the 2021 First Nations Arts Awards have been announced during a special event streamed live online across Australia, in partnership with NITV.

The First Nations Arts Awards are delivered by the Australia Council for the Arts each year on 27 May – marking the anniversary of the 1967 referendum and the start of National Reconciliation Week. The awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding work and achievements of First Nations artists.

Two respected elders received prestigious Red Ochre Awards for Lifetime Achievement including Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung woman Dr Lou Bennett AM and renowned Kimberly artist Yorna (Donny) Woolagoodja.

Dr Bennett AM received a Red Ochre for her contribution as a composer, singer and a researcher of First Nations languages. She has mentored high profile artists including Ursula Yovich, Leah Flanagan, Dan Sultan and Eric Avery. She was also a vocal coach on the film The Sapphires.

Yorna (Donny) Woolagoodja is a renowned artist from the Western Kimberly region of Western Australia. Among his achievements, his work featured in the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

The Dreaming Award for a young an emerging artist was awarded to 24-year-old old rapper and Gumbaynggirr man Tasman Keith. The musician, from Bowraville has already achieved significant success, touring nationally and supporting stars including Jessica Mauboy and Midnight Oil.

The awards also acknowledged the recipient of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Fellowship, musician and songwriter Kutcha Edwards.

“These awards are an important opportunity for all Australians to recognise the extraordinary First Nations arts and culture that shapes our national identity and enriches our nation’s unique cultural agenda,” said Executive Director Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Franchesca Cubillo.

“The awards are also an opportunity for all Australians to recognise the importance of First Nations peoples’ self-determination, cultural authority and leadership.”

Recipients of the 2021 First Nations Arts Awards:

Red Ochre Awards for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement:
Dr Lou Bennett (Kyneton, Victoria)
Yorna (Donny) Woolagoodja (Derby, Western Australia)

Dreaming Award:
Tasman Keith (Bowraville, NSW)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Fellowship:
Kutcha Edwards (Cowes, VIC)

The Awards also acknowledged the many First Nations artists who have received other Australia Council awards in the last year including:

First Nations Emerging Career Development Award:
Jazz Money

First Nations Emerging Career Development Award:
Justin Grant

Australia Council Don Banks Music Award:
William Barton

Australia Council Ros Bower Award for Community Arts and Cultural Development:
Marianne Wobcke

The 2021 First Nations Arts Awards will available this weekend on SBS On Demand. For more information, visit: www.australiacouncil.gov.au for details.

Image: Tasman Keith, Winner of the Dreaming Award – courtesy of the Australia Council