Media Releases

Announcing the recipients of the 2022 First Nations Arts Awards

Bangarra’s Artistic Director Stephen Page and acclaimed visual artist Destiny Deacon are among the recipients of the 2022 First Nations Arts Awards.

The two eminent artists were awarded the prestigious Red Ochre Award for Lifetime Achievement during a special event broadcast by NITV.

The First Nations Arts Awards are held each year on May 27, marking the anniversary of the 1967 referendum and the start of National Reconciliation Week.

The Dreaming Award (for a young and emerging artist) was this year awarded to two recipients; Brittanie Shipway, who has made her mark in musical theatre in Australia and New York, and Jazz Money, an artist and writer best known for her works of poetry.

Acclaimed singer/songwriter Emma Donovan is the recipient of the 2022 First Nations Arts and Culture Fellowship, enabling her to produce a new solo album, featuring songs for children in traditional language.

Australia Council Executive Director First Nations Arts and Culture Franchesca Cubillo said:

“The First Nations Arts Awards celebrate the outstanding work and achievements of First Nations artists. The 2022 recipients traverse a range artforms and experience – from music to theatre, dance, visual arts, and poetry. The common thread between them is they all storytellers, and the stories they share are key to Australian cultural life and national identity.”

Red Ochre Awards for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement

  • Destiny Deacon
  • Stephen Page

Dreaming Award

  • Brittanie Shipway
  • Jazz Money

First Nations Arts and Culture Fellowship

  • Emma Donovan

The awards also acknowledged the many First Nations artists to receive awards throughout the year, including:

Judith Pungarta Inkamala (2022 Australia Council Award for Visual Arts), Dr Jenny Fraser (2022 Australia Council Award for Emerging and Experimental Arts), Hayden Ryan, (2022 First Nations Emerging Career Development Award), Brodie Murray (2022 First Nations Emerging Career Development Award), and Timothy Cook (2021 Australia Council National Arts and Disability Award – Established Artist).

Watch the broadcast or find out more about the recipients via our website.

The Red Ochre Award for a senior female artist is supported in part by the Morgans Foundation.

The Dreaming Award is generously supported by Christine Simpson-Stokes AM.

The First Nations Career Development awards are supported by Australia Council staff and board members through the Australia Council’s workplace giving scheme.

The First Nations Arts Awards are presented in partnership with broadcast partners NITV

Stephen is a descendant of the Nunukul people and the Mununjali clan of the Yugambeh Nation from South East Queensland. In 1991, Stephen was appointed Artistic Director of Bangarra and has developed a signature body of works that have become milestones in Australian performing arts.

Stephen continues to reinvent First Peoples storytelling within Bangarra and through collaborations with other performing arts companies. He directed the Indigenous sections for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies and created a significant dance work for his dad’s People, the Munujali clan of the Yugambeh Nation, as part of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. Stephen has choreographed over 27 works for Bangarra. His most recent works include the Helpmann Award winning work Bennelong in 2017 and the work Dark Emu in 2018, choreographed together with former Bangarra dancers Daniel Riley and Yolande Brown, and which went on to become one of the most successful productions in the history of Bangarra.

Stephen’s first full-length film SPEAR premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival before screening at various arts festivals around Australia in early 2016. He has also co-directed and choreographed the documentary FREEMAN (2020), directed the chapter Sand in the feature film The Turning (2013), and choreographed the feature films Bran Nue Dae (2009) and The Sapphires (2011).

In 2015 Stephen was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Creative Arts by the University of Technology Sydney. In 2016, he received both the NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award and JC Williamson Award. In 2017, Stephen was honoured with the Australia Council Dance Award for significant contributions to the cultural and artistic fabric of the nation, and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).

Destiny Deacon was born in 1957 in Maryborough Queensland. Since the 1990s Deacon’s work has been primarily involved with performative photography, exploring Indigenous identity with provocative and humorous imagery that mocks and satirises clichéd and racist stereotypes often with her collaborator, Virginia Fraser.

Partly autobiographical and partly fictitious, Deacon’s work is intensely disturbing and disarmingly comedic with domestic scenarios that tell tales of dispossession and alienation featuring her trademark black dolls and Aboriginalia or vast collection of Koorie kitsch. In 1991, she staged an exhibition Blak lik me using the term “blak” as an act of defiance, taking the “c” our of black and reclaiming the term.

Deacon completed a Bachelor of Arts (politics), 1979, University of Melbourne; Diploma of Education, 1981, Latrobe University and in 2019, she was awarded Doctor of Education (honoris causa) from Latrobe University. In 2018, Deacon was awarded the Yalingwa Fellowship and in 2009 she received Visual Artist of the Year, The Deadlys, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Award. In 2010, she was Director of the Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts.

Deacon’s work is currently on display at the Australian Embassy in Paris. In 2020, the National Gallery of Victoria presented a major solo exhibition DESTINY accompanied by a substantial publication. In 2004, the monographic solo exhibition Destiny Deacon: Walk & don’t look was presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and tour to Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Japan; Tjibaou Cultural Center, New Caledonia; Adam Art Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand; Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne.

Deacon has participated in numerous international biennales and festivals including Dong Gang International Photo Festival, Korea, 2014; Havana Biennial, Cuba, 2009 and 1994; documenta 11, curated by Okwui Enwezor, Kassel, Germany 2002; Yokohama Triennale, curated by Akira Tatehata, Japan, 2001; Biennale of Sydney, 2000; Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa, 1995. She has also exhibited in internationally renowned museums such as Castello di Rivoli, Turin; Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius; Hotel de Ville, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; Arhus, Denmark; Whitechapel, London; Sammlung Essl, Austria; Neuer Berliner Kunsterverein, Berlin, amongst others.

In addition, she has exhibited in TarraWarra Biennial 2014; National Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, 2007; Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 2000; Melbourne International Biennial, 1999; Asia Pacific Triennial, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 1996.

A graduate from NIDA, Brittanie is a singer, actor and storyteller. After studying acting in New York, Brittanie returned home to pursue her passion for new Australian work. This has seen her workshop many original theatre projects, most notably Muriel’s Wedding and Evie May.

Some acting credits include the Arbiter in Chess, Kay in The Sapphires, Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, and various roles in Sport For Jove’s Othello and Rose Riot. As a creative, Brittanie has written for ABC Radio National’s short stories, Little Yarns and articles for SBS. A resident writer for Theatre Works, her play SENSER will debut later in 2022. Currently, Brittanie is developing her Gumbaynggirr musical Yellow Rock which which has already received the APRA AMCOS Award of the year, as well as the Koori Grant from Create NSW.

Her play A Letter For Molly was a semi-finalist for the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award, and debuted at Ensemble Theatre under the directorial helm of Ursula Yovich.

Jazz Money is a poet and artist of Wiradjuri heritage, a fresh-water woman currently based on Gadigal land. Her practice is centred around the written word while producing works that encompass installation, digital, film and print. Jazz’s writing has been widely performed and published nationally and internationally.

Trained as a filmmaker and arts worker, Jazz specialises in storytelling, community collaboration and digital production, working with First Nations artists and communities to realise digital projects.

Jazz’s debut collection of poetry, ‘how to make a basket’, was released in September 2021 with University of Queensland Press.

Emma Donovan is an acclaimed First Nations Australian singer and songwriter best known for her work with soul band, The Putbacks and The Black Arm Band project.

She has also toured and recorded with Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter, Spinifex Gum, Christine Anu, Yothu Yindi, Jimmy Little and Paul Kelly among others.

Emma started her singing career at the age of seven, appearing in family band The Donovans.

In 2004 Emma released her first solo album Changes and then in 2009 an EP Ngaaranga.

From 2007 until 2018 Emma was part of The Black Arm Band and their Murundak show, which reproduced iconic songs of the Aboriginal resistance movement in a theatrical setting.

In 2015 Emma began her ongoing collaboration with Melbourne combo The Putbacks.

Emma and The Putbacks released Crossover in 2020 with Hiatus Kaiyote producer Paul Bender and their most recent album is Under These Streets, a special commission with City of Melbourne as part of their Flash Forward project.

With this First Nations Arts and Culture fellowship, Emma Donovan will produce a new solo album, featuring songs for children in traditional language.

Brodie is a Wamba Wamba/ Scottish Australian playwright and performer, with a passion to tell First Nations stories of South-Eastern Australia. A 2020 graduate of WAAPA in Aboriginal Performance and VCA student (BFA Theatre), Brodie is an award-winning Artist (Best Emerging Indigenous Artist, and the Young Creatives Award, Melbourne Fringe Festival 2021) and the Australia Council for the Arts prestigious First Nations Emerging Career Development Award, First Nations Arts Awards 2022.

In May 2021, Brodie’s play Soul of Possum was premiered at the YIRRAMBOI Festival, directed by Beng Oh, with dramaturgy by Declan Furber Gillick. In March 2021, Soul of Possum had four public readings at the Castlemaine State Festival. Brodie performed the role of warrior, Dindi in the YIRRAMBOI Festival season. While in Perth, he wrote the short play Billy’s Choice as a member of the Yirra Yaakin Writers Group (Yirra Yaarnz 2020 play reading series). Billy’s Choice debuted at Melbourne Fringe, adapted for film by cinematographer Davide Michielin, directed by Rachael Maza, with dramaturgy by Geoff Kelso. Brodie performed the role of Billy, alongside actors Corey Saylor-Brunskill and Dion Williams. He is a YIRRAMBOI commissioned Artist, and the recipient of the Sidney Myer Fund, Creative Victoria, Fringe Show Support and City of Melbourne Arts Grants.

He was also a writer for ILBIJERRI’s ‘10 in 10’ 2021 script commissions, with his short play ‘Brothers’. Brodie has been commissioned by Deadly Fringe to create a new work, which will be premiered at the 2022 Melbourne Fringe Festival. He is an Alumni of the MTC First Peoples Young Artists Program and was a Castlemaine Festival Artist-in-Residence.

Hayden Ryan is a Yuin man from the far south coast of NSW, currently living in Melbourne. He recently completed a Bachelor of Arts in Music Industry at RMIT University (2021) and has a deep interest in multichannel sound design and acoustics.

He has taken part in a number of career development opportunities in Australia and internationally and is currently commissioned by McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery, to design a localised soundscape with First Nations voice for an upcoming installation.

He is a Creative Consultant at Kennell&Co, an equity-focused, Impact Consulting and Strategy Firm owned by Zenadth Kes woman Kerry Kennell; a research assistant for ANU’s CAEPR; a team member at Ngarrimili; and student mentor for RMIT University’s Schools Network Access Program (SNAP).

The career development grant will assist him to study a Master of Music in Technology in New York, developing skills and knowledge surrounding multichannel and spatial audio, acoustics, and music programming, and contextualise these skills in relation to First Nations sound.

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