Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts are a rich contribution to the world’s culture, and to Australia’s diverse contemporary culture and national identity.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts include classical, traditional and contemporary practice, including all new forms of cultural expression. This is applied across all art forms and in urban, regional and remote areas.

The Australian Council for the Arts regards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as living forces with their own strengths and influences, not as remnants of the past. We aim to make these cultural expressions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a source of pride for all Australians.

The value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts activity to individuals, families and communities is significant culturally, socially and economically, and its potential is significant in all communities. Research by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and the Telstra Foundation about the role of Indigenous festivals highlighted not only the economic benefits but improved well-being, as people reported that they had an increase in cultural pride and self-esteem stemming from a sense of inclusion and cultural identity.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Policy

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Policy is a comprehensive framework which has guided the work of the Australia Council for the Arts since its endorsement in 1997. The policy principles of respect, authority, rights and responsibilities and diversity have guided the Australia Council in its work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, arts organisations and communities.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Policy is a blueprint for the implementation of vital policy and programs promoting the artistic and cultural expression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this country.

The Australia Council welcomes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s contributions to and views on the Council’s new Strategic Plan “A Culturally Ambitious Nation  ” and the question ‘what is a culturally ambitious nation? And what would it look like in a decade?’. Forums are being held around the country in a number of locations and contributions can be made to the conversation to:

makingsolidground@australiacouncil.gov.au

PO Box 788 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012

Tollfree 1800 226912

Funding

Funding is dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, groups and organisations. This funding is assessed wholly by Indigenous peers.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, groups and organisations are welcome to make applications for activities with vibrancy in artistic and cultural expressions.

Need help with your application? Contact a Grants Officer now

Attitudes to Indigenous arts

The appreciation and enjoyment of Indigenous arts by Australian and international audiences is increasing. 

Australia Council arts participation research shows that, of those who had attended visual arts, crafts events, theatre, dance or music performances in the last 12 months, nearly a quarter (23%) had been to arts created or performed by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists.
Learn more  

Arts Participation
Arts Participation

Highlights

2015 Featured Grants

Featured News

Featured Media

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peers

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peers
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peers talk about their experience of peer assessment.