The Red Ochre Award (Lifetime achievement)

Key dates

Nominations are now closed.

Amount: $50,000 (each)

Nominations close: 7 December 2020

Nominations close at 3pm AEDT on the closing date.

Notifications: you will be notified by 31 March 2021

Award Categories:

  • The Red Ochre Award (Lifetime achievement): Female Recipient
  • The Red Ochre Award (Lifetime achievement): Male Recipient.

Please note: To nominate you must be registered in our Application Management System a minimum of two business days prior to the closing date.

About the Red Ochre Award

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

The Red Ochre Award now includes recognition of both an outstanding senior male artist and an outstanding senior female artist. Nominations for 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 artist. Awards will not be given posthumously.  The Red Ochre Awards for lifetime achievement will be presented at the First Nations Arts Awards.

The Red Ochre Award recognises:

  • lifetime contribution to First Nations Arts nationally and internationally
  • lifetime contribution to the First Nations community
  • artistic leadership
  • arts practice.

About the First Nations Arts Awards

The First Nations Arts Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding work and achievements of First Nations artists. On the evening of the 27 May, the following awards will be presented:

  • the prestigious Red Ochre Awards for outstanding lifetime achievement
  • the Dreaming Award for recognition of an emerging artist
  • the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Fellowship to support the creation of a major work by an artist. 
  • acknowledge awards given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists across Australia Council Programs including the First Nations Emerging Career Development Award.


The First Nations Arts Strategy Panel will be assessing the Red Ochre male and female award recipients and will consider the artists’ outstanding lifetime achievement and contribution nationally and internationally. 

Assessment criteria

Under each criterion are bullet points indicating what Strategy Panel members may consider when assessing your application.  You do not need to respond to every bullet point listed.

1. First Nations arts

  • contribution to the national landscape
  • outstanding body of work 
  • substantial contribution to the development of First Nations arts nationally and internationally 
  • responses to work from peers and public.

2. First Nations community

  • inspire community to keep culture strong
  • span of influence and contribution to the community 
  • impact of engagement
  • ensuring their practice is accessible.

3. Artistic leadership

  • significance of the work within area of practice
  • recognition of leadership within field of discipline
  • examples of how they have demonstrated outstanding qualities
  • impact of their achievements nationally and internationally.

4. Arts practice

  • artistic practice maintained over a significant period of time
  • substantial personal achievement in arts practice
  • industry recognition and acknowledgments
  • contribution to diverse cultural expression.

Application form

You will need the following for your nomination:

  • Describe why you are nominating this person for the Red Ochre Lifetime Achievement Award ensure you refer to the Assessment Criteria. 
  • Include how their personal achievements in their arts practice and their artistic leadership has contributed to First Nations arts and communities.
  • Provide the name of a person who has agreed to second your nomination.
  • You may also supply the names of other people who support this application.

Support material

  • Nominators must provide a CV for the nominee (Max 2 A4 pages).
  • Nominators may also provide letters of support for the nomination.
  • Nominators may choose to provide other artistic material including website URL’s, videos and Images.

How to apply

To apply log in here to our Application Management System (AMS) if you have an account. You can create an account if you do not already have one.

  1. Select 'Apply for a Grant' from the left panel menu.
  2. From the list of opportunities select 'Apply for the Red Ochre Award’.
  3. Complete the fields and select answers with dropdown menus.
  4. Upload any necessary support material.
  5. Select ‘Save’ once complete.
  6. If you are not ready to submit your application you can return to it through 'Your Draft Applications' in the left panel menu at a later date.
  7. Otherwise select ‘Submit’.


To discuss your application, please contact:

Joanne Brown - Manger First Nations Strategic Development Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts 

Phone: 02 9215 9045 (toll-free on 1800 226 912) 

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