Outstanding creativity and lifetime achievements celebrated at the First Nations Arts Awards

The recipients of the 2020 First Nations Arts Awards have been announced during an unforgettable live streamed ceremony.

Respected elders Alison Milyika Carroll and Djon Mundine OAM were honoured with the Red Ochre Awards for Lifetime Achievement. Thea Anamara Perkins received the 2020 Dreaming Award for a young and emerging artist and Maree Clarke was the recipient of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Fellowship.

Formerly the National Indigenous Arts Awards, the First Nations Arts Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding creativity and lifetime achievements of First Nations artists. These significant awards are held each year on May 27 to mark the anniversary of the 1967 referendum.

Deputy Chair of the Australia Council for the Arts and event co-host, Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin said it was an important moment in the history of the awards which have been held by the Australia Council since 1993.

“For the first time, everyone in Australia and globally had the opportunity to join the celebration of these outstanding First Nations artists. It was incredibly powerful to be able to come together online in this way to recognise and celebrate the centrality of First Nations artists to Australian culture and share that with a global audience.”

The event was also co-hosted by Wesley Enoch AM, Chair of the Australia Council’s First Nations Arts Strategy Panel.

The ceremony featured yidaki players performing from six locations across Australia and a live performance by the Stiff Gins (Yuwaalaraay, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta Nations) live from the Sydney Opera House.

2020 Recipients:

Red Ochre Award for Lifetime Achievement
Alison Milyika Caroll (SA)
Djon Mundine OAM (NSW)

Dreaming Award for an Emerging Artist
Thea Anamara Perkins (NSW)

Fellowship Recipients:

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Arts Fellowship
Maree Clarke (VIC)

Community Arts and Cultural Development Fellowship
Lydia Fairhall (QLD)

Emerging and Experimental Arts Fellowship
SJ Norman (NSW)

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

Ryan Clapham aka DOBBY (First Nations Emerging Career Development Award); Dion Beasley (Australia Council National Arts and Disability Award – Emerging Artist); r e a (Australia Council Award for Emerging and Experimental Arts); and Brook Andrew (Australia Council Award for Visual Arts).

If you missed the event, you can see all the highlights on the website. The 2020 First Nations Arts Awards will be broadcast on NITV on Sunday 31 May from 6:30pm, and are available on SBS OnDemand.

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