May 28, 2021

The Australia Council announces recipients of 2021 First Nations Arts Awards

The Australia Council announces recipients of 2021 First Nations Arts Awards

Image via Flavia Rossler 

The recipients of the 2021 First Nations Arts Awards have been announced overnight in a special live-streamed event in partnership with NITV.

Delivered by the Australia Council for the Arts, the First Nations Arts Awards are announced each year on May 27 to coincide with the anniversary of the 1967 referendum and the start of National Reconciliation Week.

Recipients of this year’s awards include elders Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung woman Dr. Lou Bennett AM and renowned Kimberly artist Yorna (Donny) Woolagoodja, who were both honoured with the prestigious Red Ochre Awards for Lifetime Achievement.

Dr. Bennet was recognised for her contributions as a composer, singer and researcher of First Nations artists, and has mentored a number of high-profile acts like Dan Sultan, Leah Flanagan and Eric Avery in addition to acting as vocal coach for the 2012 film The Sapphires.

Dr Lou Bennet (Image via the Map and Page)

Woolagoodja, meanwhile, is a celebrated visual artist from the Western Kimberly, with his work prominently featuring in the Sydney 2000 Olympics opening ceremony.

24-year old rapper and Gumbaynggirr man Tasman Keith was also recognised for his achievements with The Dreaming Award.

Keith, who originally hails from Bowraville, established himself as one of the country’s most essential hip-hop acts last year, touring nationally and working alongside Midnight Oil and Jessica Mauboy.

Tasman Keith with Thea Amamara Perkins (Image via Falvia Rossler) 

Cowes-based musician and songwriter Kutcha Edwards was also named as the recipient of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Fellowship for 2021.

Franchesca Cubillo, executive director for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, celebrated the winners of this year’s First Nations Arts Awards, noting the significance of the awards in recognising the triumphs of First Nations artists around the country.

“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,” Cubillo said.

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

The 2021 First Nations Arts Awards will available to watch in full this weekend on SBS On Demand.