National Indigenous Arts Awards

The National Indigenous Arts Awards were established in 2007 to recognise and celebrate the outstanding work and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.  These prestigious national awards consist of the Red Ochre and the Dreaming Award. 

Now in its 9th year, the annual awards celebrate the achievements and artistic creativity of exceptional Indigenous artists and are presented during the awards ceremony on the 27th May each year. The awards are decided by a national panel of Indigenous arts peers consisting of leading Indigenous artists, curators and arts managers from each state and territory, including the Torres Strait Islands.

The Red Ochre Award

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Panel established the Red Ochre Award in 1993 to pay tribute to a senior Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person for their lifetime achievement in the arts and their outstanding contributions to the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, both nationally and internationally. 

Nominations for a senior artists are accepted from arts and community organisations and individuals. Senior artists may not nominate themselves and nominations may only be made for a living artists. Awards will not be given posthumously.

In selecting a nominee the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Panel will take into account the artist’s outstanding lifetime achievement to:

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community

• Artistic leadership.


Dreaming Award

The Dreaming Award recognises an inspirational young artist aged 18-26 years and supports the opportunity for them to create a major body of work through mentoring and partnerships, either nationally or internationally. 

The successful candidate is mentored in their chosen discipline (music, dance, theatre, literature, visual arts, new media, and cultural vibrancy) by another established professional artist or by an arts institution nominated by the artist. In addition, the Australia Council will promote the achievements of the recipient to inspire other young artists.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Panel will base their selection on the following considerations:

• A project idea/concept

• Artistic merit of the project

• Cultural integrity of the project

• Professional development benefits of the project for the individual and the art form involved

• Experience of the artists and/or arts workers involved, with skills appropriate to the project.

Expressions of Interest (EOI) need to include:

• A project description  - what you plan to do 

• How you plan to do it 

• The project aims and expected outcomes.

• Why this project is important as a young Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander artist


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