The Australia Council for the Arts honours the life of Aboriginal artist Lisa Marie Bellear, a Minjungbul woman from Stradbroke Island, Queensland.
A respected poet and academic, Lisa Bellear was also an accomplished photographer, radio producer and community worker.
She was often described as a larger-than-life character who gave selflessly to her community through the arts, social justice activism and voluntary involvement.
A member of the stolen generations, Lisa served on the Victorian Stolen Generations Taskforce, the Victorian Sorry Day Committee and was a council member of Reconciliation Victoria until late 2005.
Lisa also presented the program Not Another Koori Show on Melbourne’s 3CR radio network, which was first broadcast in 1986.
Dr Chris Sarra, chair of the Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board, said that Lisa’s passing has had a huge impact on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts community and the community in general.
‘It is a great loss to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
‘Lisa was a dedicated and lively supporter of her community and made immense contributions to the arts and in the areas of Indigenous writing, academia and community broadcasting.
‘She exuded a strong sense of social justice and actively campaigned for equality and Indigenous rights. She will be sadly missed,’ Dr Sarra added.
In addition to her Australian-based work, Lisa was also actively involved with Native American and African-American student bodies, and had performed her poetry in tours to universities and conferences in North America and across Europe.
Lisa began exhibiting her photographic work in 1991. She enjoyed a major exhibition of her photographs at the Melbourne Museum as part of a show entitled Reconciliation – bar humbug. Lisa’s work was also exhibited as part of the 2004 Olympic Games.
Lisa Bellear, born on 2 May 1961, passed away suddenly in Melbourne on Thursday 6 July. She was 45.