• Mojo Juju, Kaiit and Briggs were among the high-profile winners at the 2019 NIMAs. (Nick Price)Source: Nick Price
The National Indigenous Music Awards has announced its annual awards will transform into a multimedia experience in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Emily Nicol

11 Apr 2020 - 3:17 PM  UPDATED 1 Sep 2020 - 1:30 PM

The popular  NIMAs awards, which celebrate the country's biggest and brightest in the First Nations music community, has always held a special spot on the events calendar.

Run by MusicNT and held in the Darwin Amphitheatre for over a decade, the event offers an exciting live performance program alongside the awards that has brought community together over the years.

In the face of the current health pandemic, the aim remains the same.

"We are continuing the evolution of the NIMAs to create a platform that shines a light on Indigenous success and talent across the year, of which the awards are a key part," said MusicNT’s Mark Smith.

This year is the first with a Creative Director at the helm, a position which has been taken on by Iwaidja, Malak Malak and Badu Island man Ben Graetz. 

Mr Graetz, an award winning artist and performer known as Miss Ellaneous, is a Darwin local who has previously helped shape the creative direction of the Darwin Pride Festival, Darwin Entertainment Centre, Garrmalang Festival and the Arafura Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

In a media release, Mr Graetz said he was honoured to take on the new position.

"The National Indigenous Music Awards are the biggest night on the calendar for First Nations musicians and it is an honour to be welcomed as its first Creative Director, albeit with a different palette than I was expecting to be painting with," he said.

"Over more than a decade, the awards have been such an important place of recognition for musicians across the country, both to celebrate successes and provide a platform for new artists to be discovered and I am excited to be taking the reigns of an event with such an important legacy, especially at this time.

"We will create an event where we can celebrate and honour our extraordinary musical community while of course listening to health advice and bringing our community together, this year virtually, to offer positivity and hope in these challenging times."

MusicNT.s Mr Smith said that this year the NIMAs will deliver a multi-screen experience for Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences to connect with First Nations artists and the program as a whole.

Mr Smith also said that the event would remain Indigenous-led  and produced and that the organisations was working closely with Mr Graetz to restructure the NIMAs advisory committee. 

"[We] are welcoming new members in 2020 to ensure we have Indigenous voices from across the country advising and leading the future strategy of the event," he said.

"We are proud to welcome Ben as our first Creative Director as we continue our path towards a NIMAs that is Indigenous-led: an event that not just amplifies Indigenous voices, but one that is determined and controlled by them."

Nominations are now open for public voting at http://www.indigenousmusic.com.au/

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