• Yvonne Koolmatrie, winner of the Red Ochre Award. (Australia Council’s National Indigenous Arts Awards)Source: Australia Council’s National Indigenous Arts Awards
Three incredibly talented Indigenous artists are being celebrated for the National Indigenous Arts Awards 2016.
Sarah Norton

27 May 2016 - 5:02 PM  UPDATED 27 May 2016 - 5:02 PM

The National indigenous Arts Awards celebrate the incredible artistry and contributions from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. The awards were established by the Australia Council’s former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board. Three awards will be presented tonight; the Red Ochre, a Fellowship and The Dreaming Award.

The Red Ochre Award is the most esteemed peer-assessed Indigenous artist award in Australia. It acknowledges an artist’s outstanding contribution and achievement in Indigenous arts for lifetime achievement.

The Fellowship provides a monetary prize for two years so the winner can create a major project and The Dreaming Award provides a monetary prize to an artist aged 18-26 so they can create a major body of work through mentoring or partnerships.

“The awards put a spotlight on the significant contribution Indigenous artists make to the artistic vibrancy and cultural life of Australia. They encourage us to experience, appreciate and learn about the diverse cultures and ancient stories of our First Peoples through the broad range of work created by Indigenous artists across Australia,” Australia Council Chair Rupert Myer AO said.

The three winners of this years awards are:

The Dreaming Award
Nooky (Corey Webster)

Nooky is a Nowra-born Sydney-based Yuin Nation hip hop artist. He was presented with the Australia Council’s Dreaming Award on Friday. The 25-year-old is a lyricist, rapper, composer and producer. He says he got into music because of all the anger he felt. Growing up in Nowra wasn’t easy but it made him into the man and artist he is today. Nooky’s song 'Clouds' can be viewed here.

Nooky, The Dreaming Award winner.

Previous winners of the Award include playwright Nakkiah Lui, photographer Rhonda Dick, multimedia artist Tyrone Sheather and singer-songwriter and front man of The Medics Kahl Wallis.

Australia Council Fellowship
Vicki Couzens

Vicki is a Possum cloak maker and multi-media artist. She received an Australia Council Fellowship at the Sydney Opera House on Friday. Vicki is a member of the Keerray Wooroong language group of the Gunditjmara of western Victoria. She has distinguished herself with her creative cultural expressions and her central role in the revival of the possum skin cloak making tradition.

Vicki Couzens is a possum cloak maker.

Previous winners of this Fellowship include Richard Frankland, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, Brenda L Croft, Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello, Jenny Fraser and Dave Arden.

Red Ochre Award
Yvonne Koolmatrie

Yvonne is an internationally renowned Ngarrindjeri weaver and was presented with the Australia Council’s prestigious Red Ochre Award for 2016. She was born in 1944 in Wudinna, a small town in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. Her amazing career as a master weaver began in 1982. Since her first exhibition in 1987 Yvonne now has works held in collections of the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan; South Australian Museum; National Museum of Australia; Art Gallery of Western Australia; National Gallery of Victoria; and National Gallery of Australia. Yvonne is a mother of seven, grandmother of eight, great-grandmother of three and great-great grandmother of one. She was nominated for the Award by Hetti Perkins, art curator and writer of the Eastern Arrernte and Kalkadoon Aboriginal peoples.

Yvonne Koolmatrie's art.

Previous winners of this Award include Dr Gary Foley, Hector Burton, David Gulpilil, Warren H. Williams and Archie Roach.

The Red Ochre Award has been awarded since 1993 and The Dreaming Award was first awarded in 2012. This year’s awards are being hosted by Sydney Festival Artistic Director Wesley Enoch. The Fellowship Award will be presented by Brenda L Croft, The Dreaming Award will be presented by Kahl Wallis and the Red Ochre Award will be presented by Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin.

Congratulations to all the artists!