The Australia Council for the Arts has today announced
eight remarkable artists who have been recognised this year for their significant
contributions to the cultural and artistic fabric of the nation.
The prestigious Australia Council Awards recognise the life-long and continued
contributions by artists in music, literature, community arts and cultural
development, emerging and experimental arts, visual arts, theatre and dance.
The 2017 Australia Council Award recipients are:
Grenville (NSW) – Australia
Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature
(NSW) – Don Banks Music Award
Page (NSW) –
Australia Council Dance Award
Flynn (VIC) – Australia
Council Emerging & Experimental Arts Award
Cohn (VIC) – Australia
Council Visual Arts Award
Myers (SA) – Australia
Council Theatre Award
(QLD) – Ros Bower Award
Kadhim (NSW) –
Kirk Robson Award
Federal Minister for the Arts Senator
The Hon. Mitch Fifield congratulated the 2017 award recipients and said these
impressive artists are at the forefront of their chosen practice and are
well-deserving of these prestigious awards.
“Honing their craft over many years,
these diverse artists are committed to their practice, playing an important and
innovative role, pushing boundaries to challenge audiences here and abroad,”
Minister Fifield said.
Australia Council Chair Rupert Myer AO
said these leading artists have been honoured for representing the finest
artistic traditions and cultural expressions in their area of practice.
awards are an important way of acknowledging the role of artists in the life of
our communities, and many of the past recipients have said how meaningful it
was to be nominated by their peers,” Mr Myer said.
respected both here and abroad in their art forms, the 2017 Australia Council
Award recipients join a distinguished group of artists who are wonderful
ambassadors for Australian art,” Mr Myer said.
The annual Australia Council Awards
acknowledge the contribution of the individual Australian artists. Q&As with the 2017 recipients can be found on the Australia
Council’s website along with past award recipients which include some of our
most eminent artists.
on the 2017 Australia Council Award recipients:
Kate Grenville – Australia Council Award for Lifetime
Achievement in Literature – is one of Australia's most celebrated writers. Her
most recent book, The Case Against
Fragrance (2017), is an accessible and personal investigation into the
science of scent and the power of the fragrance industry. She is the author of
the international best-seller The Secret
River, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, adapted for stage and TV, and translated into some twenty
languages. Her other books include One
Life: My Mother's Story; The Idea of Perfection (winner of the Orange
Prize); Sarah Thornhill and The Lieutenant.
Williams OAM – Don Banks Music Award – is
Australia's leading director of choirs for young people. Her lifework as
founder and Artistic Director of Gondwana Choirs began 27 years ago with the
creation of the Sydney Children’s Choir, aiming to be a world-class ensemble,
capable of performing complex music at professional standard. The organisation
now encompasses the Gondwana National Choirs and the Gondwana Indigenous
Children’s Choir, touring nationally and internationally and collaborating with
many of the finest professional ensembles and performing artists in the
country. Lyn is known for her ground breaking and innovative work and has
worked closely with many of Australia’s leading composers and has commissioned
or premiered more than 200 new works.
Stephen Page – Australia Council Dance Award – is a descendant of the Nunukul people and the
Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh Nation from SE Queensland. In 1991 Stephen
was appointed Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre and has
developed a signature body of 23 works. Stephen continues to reinvent
Indigenous story-telling both within Bangarra and through collaborations with
other performing arts companies most notably directing the Indigenous sections
for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies. In 2017 he
celebrates his 26th year with the company, creating Bennelong – a
work based on the life of Woollarawarre Bennelong, a senior man of the Eora
Nation, from the Port Jackson area in Sydney.
Flynn – Australia Council Emerging &
Experimental Arts Award
–is an artist who
creates unexpected situations for listening. She has a long term collaborative
practice with Tim Humphrey. Her work is driven by a curiosity and questioning
about listening in human culture and seeks to evolve and engage with new
processes and audiences, through public and participative interventions. Her
practice intertwines local, national and international relationships. Recently
her work has been presented by ArtsHouse Melbourne; Substation Melbourne; Seoul
Arts Festival, South Korea; New Vision Arts Festival, Hong Kong: AsiaTopa
Melbourne; Brighton Festival UK; Theatre der Welt, Hamburg; Sonica Festival
Glasgow. Her collaborative work, Weekly Ticket, which asks what if a public
artwork was an artist? is now entering year two of a fifteen year run.
Cohn – Australia Council Visual Arts Award –is an artist jeweller, designer and curator
based in Melbourne. She works across the art-craft-design divide using a
variety of media from jewellery to installation, photography and video. Her
work explores the typology of jewellery and the different terms on which it is
valued. Cohn has exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally, and
her work is held in major public and private collections. Cohn’s broad
understanding of making and design has also enabled her to work as a designer
for Alessi, as a curator for the Design Museum, London and as editor/writer for
Rizzoli International Publications, New York. Cohn is the current artist
trustee at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, and she is represented
by Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne.
Rosemary Myers – Australia
Council Theatre Award
– is the Artistic Director at
Windmill Theatre Co. Her productions with the company are regularly invited to
theatres and festivals around Australia and the world. Previously she was the
Artistic Director of the Out of the Box Festival, Melbourne University Union
Theatre and Arena Theatre. She was a Creative Director for the opening ceremony
of the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Recent career highlights
include Pinocchio which won the Helpmann Award for Best New
Australian Work, Windmill’s trilogy for teenagers: Fugitive, School
Dance and Girl Asleep in the 2014 Adelaide Festival
and her first feature film Girl Asleep for which she was
nominated Best Director at the 2016 AACTA Awards.
Steve Mayer-Miller – Ros Bower
Award – grew up in
Manly in Sydney and developed his passion for community arts working at the
Cabramatta Migrant Centre in Sydney with newly arrived refugees. In 1988 he was
awarded the National Sharing our Future multi-cultural art award. He is currently the artistic director of
Crossroad Arts in Mackay Queensland, where for 20 years, he has developed more
than 40 new works with the Indigenous and Australian South Sea Islander
communities, seniors and people living with a disability. His international
work has included the co-writing/directing of the play 'with Love' with Mallika
Sarabhai which toured India in 2012. His play Melek mo Hani was published in
2014. For the past 5 years, Steve has worked in Japan on a series of theatre,
dance and film projects partnering with communities affected by the 2011 Great
Earthquake and Tsunami.
Ali Kadhim – Kirk
Robson Award –is a movement coach, stunt performer and
filmmaker. He grew up immersed in physical movement, learning martial arts from
the age of 12 and discovering the existence of Parkour (the art of overcoming
physical obstacles in one's environment) at age 15. He has been teaching the
art to communities and students since 2006, and is the founder of ‘Team 9Lives’, a Fairfield based crew
dedicated to movement and the growth of Parkour. Ali is also a self-taught
filmmaker, what began as "just borrowing the high school camcorder to
record himself and friends jumping and climbing" all eventually evolved
into editing, writing and choreographing of all the movement, drama and action
in his films. His short films have won awards and he is currently writing feature
length screenplays while also continuing his movement training and coaching
with students of all ages from across Sydney.
the Australian Council Awards:
Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature, formerly the Writers’ Emeritus Award,
acknowledges the achievements of eminent literary writers over the age of 60
who have made an outstanding and lifelong contribution to Australian
literature. Past winners include David
Malouf AO (2016), Thomas Keneally (2015), Frank Moorhouse AM (2013), Herb
Wharton (2012) and the late Christopher Koch (2007).
Banks Music Award
honours a distinguished artist aged over 50 who has made an outstanding and
sustained contribution to music in Australia.
It is named in honour of Don Banks, an Australian composer, performer
and the first Chair of the Music Board.
Past winners include Brett Dean (2016), Archie Roach (2015), Mike Nock
(2014) Kev Carmody (2013), Jon Rose (2012) and Belinda Webster (2011).
Council Visual Arts Award
acknowledges the exceptional achievements of an Australian artist who has made
an outstanding contribution to the development of Australian art. Past winners include Richard Bell (2016),
Judy Watson (2015), Fiona Foley (2014), Tracey Moffatt (2012), and Fiona Hall
Council Awards for Emerging & Experimental Arts, Dance and Theatre were introduced in 2015 to recognise the
outstanding achievements and considerable contribution of artists in those art
forms. Last year’s recipients were Kelli
McCluskey (Emerging and Experimental Arts); Lucy Guerin (Dance); and Yaron
Lifschitz (Theatre) and recipients in its inaugural year were Stelarc (Emerging
& Experimental Arts); Garry Stewart (Dance); and Bruce Gladwin (Theatre).
Bower Award is given to
artists with a proven record of high achievement in community arts and cultural
development, driven by the principles of equality, respect, and diversity. It is named in honour of Ros Bower, a
journalist, television producer, community arts pioneer and founding Director
of Council’s first Community Arts Board. Past
winners of the Ros Bower award include Lily Shearer, Lockie McDonald, Steve Payne and Alissar Chidiac.
Kirk Robson Award recognises
outstanding leadership from young people working in community arts and cultural
development, particularly in reconciliation and social justice. It was established to honour Kirk Robson who
tragically died in a car accident in 2005. He received the Council’s Young and
Emerging Artists Initiative and was the Artistic Director of The Torch Project.
Past winners of the Kirk Robson award include,
Nathan Stoneham, Shakthi Shakthidharan, Jade
Lillie and Alexandra Kelly.
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