• "Songlines" by Donny Woolagoodja adorn the Sydney Opera House during Vivid. Woolagoodja received the 2021 Red Ochre lifetime achievement award. (Facebook: Sydney Opera House)Source: Facebook: Sydney Opera House
The annual awards are given out by the Australia Council every May 27 to commemorate the historic 1967 referendum.
NITV Staff Writer

24 Sep 2021 - 4:23 PM  UPDATED 24 Sep 2021 - 4:26 PM

Nominations are now open for the annual First Nations Art Awards.

The prestigious gongs celebrate the work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nation-wide in any artistic field. 

Like so many other events, this year's awards ceremony was forced online due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns.

Three prizes are again up for grabs in 2022: the Red Ochre Award, the Dreaming Award, and an Australia Council Fellowship. 

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Nominees are encouraged to apply now, with applications closing Tuesday 12 October. The winners will be announced May 27, the anniversary of the historic 1967 citizenship referendum, and the beginning of Reconciliation Week. 

2021 winners

The Red Ochre was established in 1993 by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board, and recognises senior First Nations artist for their life-time achievements. This year's winners were respected composer Dr Lou Bennet and fine artist Yorna (Donny) Woolagoodja, whose giant Namaralay Wandjina featured in the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

The awards also recognise and support the ongoing development of up-and-coming artists. The Dreaming Award offers mentorship to 18- to 26-year-olds, pairing them with a more established practicing artist or institution of their choosing. 

This year's winner was 24-year-old rapper and Gumbaynggirr manm Tasman Keith. The award will see him recording, releasing, and touring his next EP, a collaboration with producers and artists Keith has nominated. 

As part of the awards, a coveted Australia Council Fellowship will also be given out. The Fellowships are worth 80 thousand dollars each, and "support creative activity and career development for mid-career and established artists for up to two years."

Rounding out a strong year for musicians, singer and songwriter Kutcha Edwards took home the lucrative prize. 

A survivor of the Stolen Generations, Edwards released his fifth studio album this year, titled "Circling Time".

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