Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Honours for Indigenous artists

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Simon Crean MP
    Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government Minister for the Arts

Arts Minister Simon Crean and Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin today congratulated recipients of the 2012 National Indigenous Arts Awards.

Presented by the Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board, the awards showcase the breadth and vibrancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture in Australia.

Singer, musician and songwriter, Warren H Williams, was awarded the $50,000 Red Ochre Award for his outstanding contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts.

The musician from Hermannsburg in Central Australia has released nine albums including his language album Winanjjara, which was performed in his ancestors’ languages Warumungu and Western Aranda.

Mr Crean said Mr Williams was one of the biggest Indigenous names in the country music scene and an important role model to emerging Indigenous artists.

“Warren has made a wonderful contribution to the cultural life of our nation, sharing his story in his words on the world stage,” Mr Crean said.

Ms Macklin said Mr Williams was also an ambassador for young Indigenous people across Australia.

“He plays an important part in supporting the mental health of Indigenous Australians as an Ambassador with Suicide Story in conjunction with the Mental Health Association of Central Australia,” Ms Macklin said.

The National Indigenous Arts Awards also recognised young Gamilaroi and Torres Strait Islander playwright Nakkiah Lui, who was presented with the inaugural Dreaming Award for young and emerging artists aged 18-26 years.

As part of the award, Ms Lui will receive a $20,000 prize to produce a major piece of work in partnership with Belvoir and mentor Andrea James.

Two fellowships of $90,000 over two years were awarded to world-renowned musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu and contemporary visual and digital artist Jenny Fraser to produce major cross-artform projects.

“The 2012 National Indigenous Arts Awards recognize the strength and diversity of Indigenous arts and culture,” Mr Crean said.

“One of the oldest living cultures in the world is producing some of the most exciting contemporary art forms in the world.”